Residents and pro-democracy organisations gathered at the Link REIT headquarters in Kwun Tong on Thursday after the investment trust cancelled a meeting scheduled with them the night before.
Protesters have been fighting against Link’s practice of outsourcing the management of markets to other companies and raising the rents of car parks. At one of the outsourced markets, stallholders at Cheung Fat Market were told to vacate for renovation works in March after protesting against potential rent hikes in February.
Demonstrators representing residents who live near to Link-owned markets, as well as the pro-democracy Labour Party, Democratic Party, ADPL, and the League of Social Democrats, were present at Thursday’s protest.
The demonstrators sat in silence, though some, including the League of Social Democrats’ Tsang Kin-shing and Democratic Party vice-chairman Andrew Wan, attempted to take an elevator up to the 35th floor to meet the CEO of Link Asset Management Limited George Hongchoy. The company manages the investment trust.
Protesters managed to pass by security guards after around ten minutes, but the elevators were already locked, according to InMedia. They then returned to join the silent protest.
The protesters were dissatisfied with Link’s refusal to let others, including stall owners and residents, into Thursday’s meeting. Democratic Party district councillor Au Nok-hin, who led the rally, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that “we have gathered so many resident representatives… however Link REIT independently went against the condition that was made to ‘allow residents to participate in the meeting’…” The meeting was subsequently cancelled by Link.
Link said that they had – in fact – called to discuss matters with the protesters five times but were unsuccessful. However, Au called the statement “a deception” in a press release. He said that he had spoken to Link representative Myron Ng on the phone to discuss the meeting.
Link has previously sought a court order to prevent activists from entering its headquarters.