Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Protesters surround Democratic Party lawmaker once again at rally against copyright bill

Lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan was surrounded by angry protesters once again on Thursday night when she appeared at a rally against a controversial copyright bill.

A meeting to debate the bill was adjourned earlier in the evening.

Helena Wong being surrounded, and Claudia Mo was injured. Photo: Apple Daily.

Helena Wong was surrounded as lawmaker Claudia Mo was injured. Photo: Apple Daily.

Wong was set to address some 200 protesters at the Legislative Council demonstration area, but was stopped by protesters who were shouting, pushing and attempting to to surround her.

The rally at LegCo.

The rally at LegCo. Photo: HKFP.

Wong was also surrounded by protesters at a similar rally on Wednesday night.

The protesters angry with the Democratic Party as its lawmakers Albert Ho Chun-yan and Sin Chung-kai remained in the chamber during the last few seconds of a quorum count. Were they outside the chamber during the count, the meeting would have been adjourned due to an insufficient number of members at the meeting.

Lawmakers requested the quorum bell – which triggers a headcount – 28 times during Thursday’s meeting, but their efforts to cut short the debate failed.

Claudia Mo speaking at the rally.

Claudia Mo speaking at the rally. Photo: HKFP.

During the scuffle, lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching – who was aside Wong – fell down. Mo and Wong were escorted by security guards back into the LegCo building, with protesters following them.

Alan Lai, a member of rally co-organiser Copyrights & Derivative Works Alliance, witnessed the incident. He said the area was packed and Wong caught Mo in her arms when she fell.

He said Mo’s waist was injured and she had to be moved in a wheelchair when she was inside the building.

Claudia Mo in a wheelchair.

Claudia Mo in a wheelchair. Photo: Apple Daily.

Glacier Kwong Chung-ching, a spokesperson for Keyboard Frontline which organised the rally, admitted that the protest had escalated and had become “slightly out of control”.

Glacier Kwong.

Glacier Kwong. Photo: HKFP.

She said that the lawmakers were invited to the demonstration area to receive a pack of materials for future meetings on the bill, but she did not expect groups of protesters to surround Wong. She was not around Wong at the time.

The pack of materials to be given to lawmakers highlighting points to talk about the copyright bill.

The pack of materials to be given to lawmakers highlighted talking points regarding the copyright bill. Photo: HKFP.

Kwong apologised to Mo for the chaotic scene, and also for being unable to ensure participants’ safety.

The controversial bill has faced major opposition from local netizens who worry that using copyrighted works—even if just for personal and non-profit use —could lead to criminal investigation. Opponents to the bill have also raised concerns that new amendments could make it an offence to live stream game-playing and to screen-cap television programmes or movies.

The debate on the bill will continue on Friday morning.

However, a vote on the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 would be unlikely to happen this week, as Friday’s meeting will only last until 1pm.

The first LegCo general assembly after this week is scheduled for January 6.

Protesters surround Democratic Party lawmaker once again at rally against copyright bill