Legislative Council President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam should not be blamed for Monday’s crackdown on the leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests.

At least nine pro-democracy figures have been informed by police that they are to be charged with public nuisance. The news came a day after Carrie Lam was elected as the city’s leader and pledged “social unity.”

“I think we must not mix up the issues. It’s very easy to point the fingers to Carrie. But we got to look at what happened two years ago – it’s a judiciary matter… it’s not Carrie,” he said. “Even if Carrie is in the government, it’s not her decision to charge or not to charge.”

Andrew Leung and Carrie Lam. Photo: GovHK.

Asked about the timing of the action, Leung said: “Is that a coincidence? We don’t know. Why she gets 777 votes, is it a coincidence or planned? I don’t know. But things in Hong Kong, there are so many things happened all at the same time. It’s a coincidence, that’s what I believe.”

Leung added that if anyone broke the law during the protests, they have to face punishment: “But if they are innocent, our judicial system will clear them of guilt.”

Lam denied she knew of the police action, and said that prosecution actions are undertaken independently by the Department of Justice.

‘Improve communication’ 

Andrew Leung was speaking after Lam called on him on Monday. He said the visit showed she attached importance to the relationship between the administration and the legislature.

“The relationship is like a pair of hands, they monitor each other, they cooperate as well, for the benefit of the public,” he said.

“I hope the new chief executive and her administration will have affinity, to gain recognition and support from lawmakers and the public,” he said. “She told me she would improve communication with lawmakers and parties… I hope lawmakers can give positive feedback, for the benefit of Hong Kong, to afford some patience and time to Mrs Lam and her team.”

Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

Lam also called in on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Acting Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal Mr Justice Robert Tang.

DoJ responds

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice said in a statement that the public should not politicise criminal prosecutions, nor speculate over the prosecution’s timing from a political point of view.

The Department dismissed claims that the action was taken upon Lam’s instruction. It said it would not notify the administration, or in this case Carrie Lam, before criminal prosecutions are made.

Hundreds of protesters marked the second anniversary of the pro-democracy Occupy protests. Photo: P.H. Yang.

Earlier on Monday, Lam visited several local districts, such as Central, Sha Tin and Hung Hom.

With regards to reducing the divide in society, Lam said: “If we have different views, we can debate at meetings or in the media in order to analyse and convince others – I do not agree that people should mobilise people every time to show their voice is louder.”

She said she will make courtesy calls to Beijing’s three official organs in Hong Kong – including the China Liaison Office which was accused of pressuring electors to support her. The other two bodies are the Foreign Ministry Office of the Hong Kong Commissioner and the People’s Liberation Army.

News channel i-Cable carried an undercover report showing that some demonstrators who joined a rally in support of Lam outside the election venue on Sunday were paid HK$600.

Lam said she had no knowledge it happening: “I did not participate in the reported incident. We are a society based on evidence.”

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.