Legco postpones reopening amid safety concerns

October 07, 2014 18:59
Legco President Jasper Tsang says there is no special access for lawmakers to enter and leave the building freely because of the continuing protest outside government headquarters. Photo: RTHK

Hong Kong's legislature has decided to postpone its reopening until Oct. 15 in response to safety concerns by pro-establishment lawmakers, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.

Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang said the decision was made given the sensitive nature of the next agenda which includes the Occupy Central movement and controversial police action on protesters.

The chamber had been expected to resume on Oct. 8, with a sit-in protest outside government headquarters beginning to dissipate.  

However, some lawmakers and government officials have raised concern about public safety, Tsang was quoted as saying.

“In addition, there is no special access for lawmakers to enter and leave the building freely," he said.

Forty-one pro-establishment legislators requested the postponement.

Tsang said they had considered requesting police security but the officers' presence in the chamber might draw a backlash from the protesters.

Lawmaker Ip Kwok-him said the protesters continue to block access in key areas around government headquarters and any move to resume Legco sessions would be ill advised, public broadcaster RTHK reported.

“The situation in certain areas remains tricky and could get out of control," Ip said.

He said it is doubtful whether the chamber can reopen next week if the protest continues.

Also, Ip dismissed reports that the request for postponement was aimed at preventing pan-democrats to tackle issues relating to the civil disobedience movement.

Civic Party legislator Leong Kah-kit accused Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and the pro-establishment camp of trying to evade discussion of harsh police tactics against protesters.

He said the pan-democrats will investigate the use of tear gas and pepper spray on demonstrators in the early hours of the protest last week and try to find out who ordered the attack on students by a mob in Mong Kok on Friday, Leong said.

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Freelance journalist