A decision by key leaders of Scholarism to run in the Legislative Council elections in September has raised speculation that the student activist group will soon be disbanded.
There are also rumors that the key leaders will form a new political party while Scholarism will be replaced by a new student body, Apple Daily reports.
Scholarism spokesperson Wong Tsz-yuet said no decision has been made and discussions are still going on.
He remained tight-lipped on rumors that the student organization will dissolve on March 20.
Former spokesperson Oscar Lai Man-lok refused to comment, adding that questions about the matter should be addressed to the group’s convenor or spokesperson.
Lai announced earlier that he is forming a political party with convenor Joshua Wong and former spokesperson Agnes Chow to compete in the Legco elections.
Wong, however, has yet to reach the legal age of 21 to be eligible as a candidate and is awaiting the result of a judicial review on the issue.
Founded in 2011, Scholarism used to have more than 600 full-fledged members, but now only has about 120 members after several restructuring exercises.
According to its rules, all members must not belong to any other political party. This means that Legco hopefuls like Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow must first quit Scholarism in order to form their own political party.
Professor Dixon Sing Ming of the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology said it would be a pity if Scholarism were dissolved, noting that the group has yet to complete its “historical mission” after the Occupy protests in 2014.
Sing, however, believes that any new political party to be formed by the Scholarism leaders would be able to solicit support from young people as well as middle-age and older voters who have become disappointed with the pan-democrats.
According to news website hk01.com, Scholarism has been outstanding in raising funds through public donations, sometimes even outperforming some pan-democrat parties.
Last March, Oscar Lai revealed the student group had a cash reserve of HK$2.5 million.
Current spokesperson Wong Tsz-yuet said should the organization disband, its funds could be donated to other organizations sharing their beliefs.
It was reported that Scholarism had an income of HK$1.937 million between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014, with a surplus of HK$810,000 for the 12-month period.
The group also raised HK$1.31 million from a July 1 protest in 2014.
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