Date
24 January 2017
Lau Kin-kwok puts out his burning left arm as a sign protest against an eviction order for Po Yin Fat Yuen monastery (left picture). Photos: RTHK, Apple Daily
Lau Kin-kwok puts out his burning left arm as a sign protest against an eviction order for Po Yin Fat Yuen monastery (left picture). Photos: RTHK, Apple Daily

Monastery chief vows to stay put after arm-burning protest

A monastery chief is in hospital with severe burns after setting an arm on fire to protest a relocation order from the government.

From his hospital bed, a defiant Lau Kin-kwok, 59, who runs the Po Yin Fat Yuen monastery in Hong Kong’s Tiu Keng Leng district, is vowing to stay put, according to Apple Daily.

Lau was brought to Princess Margaret Hospital after he set his left arm alight when officials from the Lands Department and Home Affairs Department served him an eviction notice Tuesday.

Firemen put out the fire and gave him first aid but he became hysterical when he saw his elder brother and a sister-in-law being pushed by policemen.

Reports say Lau stood on the roof of the monastery in an agitated state for about 30 minutes, threatening to jump.  

Lau received advance notice about the forcible removal of Po Yin Fat Yuen, a shrine for 72 revolutionary martyrs and 300 deceased villagers built in 1956.

The government is planning to turn the site into a history and heritage information center.

It was not the first time Lau had tried to harm himself as a show of protest.

In July 1996, he survived a jump from a rooftop when government agents came to demolish squatter shanties in the former Rennie’s Mill, the monastery’s old location.

In colonial times, Tiu Keng Leng was a refugee village and home to Kuomintang loyalists who had escaped to Hong Kong from mainland China after the 1949 communist takeover.

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TL/AC/RA

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