HSBC Marks Plaza for Eviction of Hong Kong Occupy Protest

HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) is marking out the area in its Hong Kong ground floor plaza that has been occupied by protesters for more than 10 months ahead of their eviction by court-authorized officers.

Hong Kong’s High Court has issued a writ of possession empowering a bailiff to re-possess the site, according to an internal HSBC memo obtained by Bloomberg News. Gareth Hewett, a HSBC spokesman, confirmed the content of the memo.

“The process by which the bank takes back the plaza has reached a new stage and is now in the hands of the bailiff, whose job is to execute the writ,” according to the memo.

The Occupy Central protest in Hong Kong, one of the longest-running demonstrations sparked by the Occupy Wall Street movement, numbered about 50 at the peak. They were ordered by the court to evacuate by 9 p.m. on Aug. 27. Three have voluntarily left the ground floor of HSBC’s Asian headquarters, according to the memo. Protesters in New York were evicted in November and in London in June.

“Our consensus is that we will persist and stay till the end,” according to a statement posted on the Facebook page of Occupy Central today. “We are still staying on the ground floor of HSBC’s building, to face the eviction from HSBC and the bailiff which could come anytime.”

There were about 10 tents with 10 protesters, tables and couches on the site at 11:00 a.m. today. HSBC will demarcate the site to make clear areas for public passage through the plaza, Hewett said.

Office Hours

An area would also be specified for the media to ensure that they don’t obstruct the public, he said. The bailiff will probably execute the writ during office hours, he said.

Journalists outnumbered protesters on the evening of Aug. 27, when a small band performed at the site.

While Hong Kong has seen its wealth gap widen to a record, stoking public discontent, the Occupy Central movement has failed to attract demonstrators equal in number to those who took part in protest marches this year.

On July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, as many as 112,000 people took to the streets to demand more be done about income inequality, human rights in China and higher minimum wages.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Tong in Hong Kong at stong17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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