The pro-independence Hong Kong National Party has been barred from holding a vigil on the evening of June 30 outside the Tsim Sha Tsui clock tower because of “maintenance works,” says its convener.

Andy Chan Ho-tin told reporters earlier this week that he wanted to hold the gathering on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the “fall” of Hong Kong so as to tell the world that residents were not celebrating the transfer of sovereignty to China.

Hong Kong National Party
Hong Kong National Party’s Andy Chan Ho-tin. Photo: Hong Kong National Party, via Facebook.

He said that the proposed vigil at the tourist site would be peaceful, and consist of music, speeches and the broadcasting of video clips. He expected 300 to attend.

But in a Friday morning Facebook post, he said that the police had notified him that the Hong Kong Cultural Centre – under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department – would close the entire area around the clock tower because of maintenance works. He would therefore not be able to hold an assembly at the area.

“They’re not telling us to participate in other celebration events, are they?” he added satirically.

See also: ‘Hong Kong is a Chinese colony’: Pro-independence party to hold vigil on eve of Handover anniversary

Earlier this week, Chan said he had contacted the police to apply for a letter of no objection to stage the vigil. “But the response from the police management was quite negative.”

Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower Cultural Centre
File photo: 子房 via Wikimedia Commons.

According to the Public Order Ordinance, notice of a public meeting must be given at least one week before the meeting takes place. The maximum penalty for organising an unauthorised assembly is five years behind bars.

Chan earlier said that his party would stage some activities even if it did not gather in Tsim Sha Tsui.

A Leisure and Cultural Services Department spokesperson told HKFP that it will conduct maintenance and cleaning works at the plaza outside the Cultural Centre between 9pm on June 30 and 11am on July 1, in order to prepare the venue for the public to watch the fireworks on the Handover anniversary.

“The plaza has already been leased to another user for an activity during daytime on July 1,” he added.

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.