Protesters occupying the plaza under HSBC Holdings Plc’s Hong Kong headquarters were given two weeks to respond to the bank’s lawsuit asking for permission to remove them.
Master K. Lo at Hong Kong’s Court of First Instance today set Aug. 13 for the next hearing of the case against the nine-month protest, one of the longest-running demonstrations sparked by the Occupy Wall Street movement. HSBC had requested occupiers leave voluntarily on May 29 and wants to clear the area for a number of community events, bank spokesman Gareth Hewett said earlier.
Protesters for Occupy Wall Street, whose movement to highlight income inequality spread from New York to other cities globally, were evicted in November, and others in London were evicted from their Finsbury Square camp on June 14. In Hong Kong, protesters numbering about 50 at the peak have pitched tents and laid out couches as they played guitars and ran photography classes in the ground floor plaza under HSBC’s Central building.
“HSBC believes possession of the ground floor of its main building should be given to the bank to allow it to restore proper pedestrian access to be enjoyed by all members of the public in Hong Kong,” Hewett said in an e-mailed statement.
Lo reminded the defendants that they should submit all relevant information in their filing, as the court may decide without a detailed hearing.
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“Our victory or defeat is not determined by the court,” Leung Wing-lai, a participant of Occupy Central, said by phone today. “We’re not going to leave. We’re still operating. We’re not going to pay any attention to the court’s decision.”
Hong Kong is one of several Asian cities including Seoul, Taipei and Tokyo which have seen protests inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York spread to their streets since last October.
“I hope to maintain my little corner there,” said Ho Yiu-shing, one of the defendants named by HSBC in the lawsuit. He said last month he had written to the bank to ask for permission to remain there, and that he will decide on his next move after he has studied the court documents.
The case is Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. and The occupiers of the ground floor of 1 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, HCMP1271/2012 in the Court of First Instance, Hong Kong.