Date
13 December 2017
A taxpayer supporting the non-cooperation campaign will pay the tax bill by installment, issuing cheques worth HK$68.9 each. Photo: Facebook
A taxpayer supporting the non-cooperation campaign will pay the tax bill by installment, issuing cheques worth HK$68.9 each. Photo: Facebook

Pro-democracy groups launch non-cooperation movement

Pro-democracy students and civic groups have launched a non-cooperation movement as part of the campaign for genuine universal suffrage.

The new initiative, coming after police cleared their main protest site in Admiralty last week, will encourage Hong Kong’s 2.3 million public housing residents to delay payment of rentals and the 1.74 million taxpayers to pay their taxes in small amounts, Apple Daily reported.

Alex Chow, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), said the campaign would show to the government the extent of public displeasure over Beijing’s political reform framework, which allows the central government to vet the candidates to the 2017 chief executive election.

Under the plan, public housing residents will pay their rent at the end of each month instead of the usual practice of paying it at the beginning of the month. This would reduce the Housing Authority’s interest income as well as increase the workload as staff would press the tenants for the payments, it said.

So far, about 100 public housing residents have responded to the call, Yim Pik-fan, convenor of the Alliance for Defending Grassroots Housing Rights, was quoted as saying. She noted that a similar campaign in 2006 and 2007 was able to force the government to cut rents by 11.63 percent.

Under the “tax payment split” campaign, taxpayers are encouraged to pay their bills by installment, in the amount of HK$68.9, HK$689 or HK$6,890 for each payment.

The amounts are symbolic, organizers said, as “689″ is the protesters’ pejorative moniker for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, referring to the number of votes he got from the committee that elected him into office in 2012.

Lawyer Debora Poon said the campaign does not break the law as there are no rules prohibiting taxpayers from paying their bills by installment.

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KZ/AC/CG

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