Date
11 December 2017
Ng Mei-lan holds a placard demanding universal suffrage during a 2010 school visit by then Chief Executive Henry Tang. Today, she plans to go to class then surrender to the police. Photos: RTHK, HKEJ
Ng Mei-lan holds a placard demanding universal suffrage during a 2010 school visit by then Chief Executive Henry Tang. Today, she plans to go to class then surrender to the police. Photos: RTHK, HKEJ

From class to jail? Pro-democracy teacher to surrender

There’s no doubt outspoken school teacher Ng Mei-lan is dedicated to her work and willing to take responsibility for her actions.

So today, she will report for work as usual, then head to the police precinct to turn herself in, just like her other pro-democracy colleagues.

Ng is a member of Occupy Central, the civil disobedience movement that helped inspire the student-driven street protests.

She said taking responsibility for the legal consequences of her actions is part of her undertaking to the movement when she joined it, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.

Ng said her surrender is not an act of betrayal but a show of commitment to the cause by risking jail for it, adding she will continue to support the protesters.

“We are pursuing the same goal in different ways,” she said.

In 2010, Ng came to public attention when she held up a placard demanding universal suffrage during a visit to her former school by then Chief Secretary Henry Tang.

She followed up with a pointed question about the government’s promise of one man, one vote in the 2017 chief executive election.

”I do not really care about whether or not I will have a criminal record, or if it will have an impact on my job as a civil servant and my pension,” Ng said.

“Things on the personal level are not worth anything when there are much bigger issues at stake.”

A spokesman for the Education Bureau said that if a public school teacher is convicted of a crime, the case will be handled according civil service regulations.

Hon Lin-shan, a standing committee member of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, said the permanent secretary of education can decide whether to remove a teacher, depending on the seriousness of the offense

If Ng is sacked, Hon said the union will take up her cause, adding Ng participated only in civil disobedience.

Occupy Central co-founders Benny Tai, Chu Yiu-ming and Chan Kin-man are planning to turn themselves in on Wednesday, along with Cardinal Joseph Zen and about 50 others.

But most pan-democrat lawmakers polled by Ming Pao Daily ruled out surrender.

And Next Media boss Jimmy Lai, a key figure in the democracy campaign, said he would rather be arrested, although he praised the Occupy Central leaders for their “wise” decision to surrender.

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