The University of Hong Kong’s governing council ejected Billy Fung King-yan, former president of the HKU Students’ Union, from its meeting on Tuesday after he refused to sign a commitment to ensure the safety of members, Apple Daily reports.
The council meeting was held not on the university campus but at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in Wan Chai with at least 10 security guards standing by and iron barricades set up.
At the start of the meeting, HKU Council chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung asked Fung to sign a commitment to ensure the safety of the council members and an agreement not to leak whatever is discussed during the meetings.
Li said three council members had complained to him that Fung was responsible for helping student protesters to get into the meeting and consequently put their safety at risk.
Students had broken into the council meetings twice, in July last year and in January this year, to present their demands. Several council members were injured as a result.
While Fung was only willing to sign the agreement but not the commitment, council members decided to eject him from the chamber after a 13-5 vote. Three members abstained.
Fung tried to overturn the vote, saying accusations against him lacked proof.
The council later issued a statement saying that Fung’s actions might directly or indirectly affect its members’ safety, adding that asking him to leave is not a form of punishment but to ensure the council can conduct meetings safely, orderly and effectively.
Fung told Apple Daily that the council’s decision to eject him was not fair as he did not know he would be asked to sign some documents before the meeting and therefore he was not able to get legal advice in advance.
He said he would have set a bad precedent if he signed.
Council member Eric Cheung Tat-ming, who is principal lecturer at HKU’s Department of Law, said Fung’s ejection from the meeting was unfortunate, unreasonable and inappropriate.
Calling the council’s decision totally absurd, Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun, who is a lawyer by profession, said asking Fung to sign a commitment might involve discrimination and it is proper for him to apply for a judicial review.
Meanwhile, council member Dr. Cheung Kie-chung, associate professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, posted a photo of a thermos on his Facebook account Tuesday night after the meeting.
He said he was questioned at the meeting that day why he had brought the thermos when beverage was available at the meeting, and whether the thermos had a bugging device, standnews.com reported.
Speaking at a Commercial Radio program on Wednesday, Fung said Cheung emptied the thermos of its content upon the request of another council member, Leonie Ki Man-fung, to prove there was nothing in it but water.
Ki refused comment when Ming Pao Daily asked her about the incident.
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