Date
19 November 2017
Towngas denies forcing employees to sign forms opposing Occupy Central. Towngas chairman Lee Shau-kee his employees will not take part in the universal suffrage campaign. Photo: HKEJ
Towngas denies forcing employees to sign forms opposing Occupy Central. Towngas chairman Lee Shau-kee his employees will not take part in the universal suffrage campaign. Photo: HKEJ

Towngas workers feel heat over anti-Occupy Central forms

Hong Kong and China Gas Co. Ltd., known as Towngas, has been accused of forcing its employees to sign forms opposing the planned Occupy Central civil disobedience movement, according to a form obtained by EJ insight.

One unnamed senior staff member at the company said he was told the direction to sign the forms came from Colin Lam Ko-yin, vice chairman of Towngas parent Henderson Land, according to a Thursday report by Apple Daily.

The staff member said submitting the forms was voluntary but he was told to hand his in to his department head, making him fearful of the consequences of not doing so. Towngas employs about 2,000 people and many workers said the move was out of line.

But Towngas denies the forms are mandatory, the report said.

According to media reports earlier this month, a pro-Beijing alliance called “Safeguard Suffrage for Chief Executive, Oppose Occupy Central Movement” plans to launch a signature campaign to oppose the protest and has been distributing forms in the community hoping to collect 800,000 signatures.

A spokesman for Towngas denied the company is forcing employees to sign the forms, saying it is neutral on the Occupy Central movement and no record will be kept on who submitted the forms. Those who are willing to sign have to submit the forms by themselves to the alliance not through the company, according to the spokesman.

Tycoon Lee Shau-kee, chairman of both Henderson Land and Towngas, said last month that Occupy Central will not succeed because people are more worried about its potential negative impact on Hong Kong society. He also said his employees will not take part in it. According to unnamed sources, Henderson Land plans to set up posts this Saturday at a dozen shopping malls it owns to collect anti-Occupy Central signatures from the public.

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