21 August 2019

Scholarism raises HK$3 mln in 2 years; says no hand of Jimmy Lai

Hong Kong student activist group Scholarism took the lid off its financial books for the first time Wednesday, revealing that it has raised a total of HK$3 million (US$387,074) in contributions since 2012.

Oscar Lai, a spokesperson for Scholarism, said the group received HK$892,000 during the 2012/13 year and ended that financial year with a surplus of HK$397,000, Ming Pao Daily News reported Thursday. In the 2013/14 financial year, donations exceeded HK$1 million, he was quoted as saying. Further, another HK$1.31 million came in from the July 1 march this year, Lai said.

Lai said the lion’s share of donations came from the public. He stressed that the group never received any funds from Next Media boss Jimmy Lai or his assistant Mark Simon.

Scholarism co-founder Joshua Wong said in August 2012 that the group will disclose its books once a year but wasn’t able to keep the promise until now. Offering an explanation, Lai said that as the group was set up under the Societies Ordinance, statutory requirements stipulate that they could release financial information only after it was passed at a members’ meeting.

Lai insisted that they have made public the amount of donations received after each fund-raising exercise, which is more than what the law requires and is more transparent than other organizations.

Scholarism received approval to become a registered society in March 2013, and opened a society bank account in June last year. Before this, all the funds were kept in a joint bank account held by two members aged above 18.

In terms of expenses, the group’s biggest expenditure during the 2012/13 year was on printed material — at HK$172,000, representing 34.7 percent of the year’s total expenses. The other main expense is the group’s office rental in a Cheung Sha Wan industrial building, which is costing over HK$20,000 per month.

Scholarism said it can disclose its books for the 2013/14 year as soon as this October after the audited results are passed at a members’ meeting.

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