We can’t take it any longer, says protester before plunging into water … followed by firefighters.
Four men demonstrated their opposition to the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement yesterday with some civil disobedience of their own – jumping off the pier at Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower into Victoria Harbour.
The men held a press briefing lamenting Occupy Central before defying a police warning not to go ahead with their stunt.
Three firefighters wearing crash helmets and life jackets jumped in straight after them and helped pull the men back onto the pier using rescue buoys.
As one man quickly drifted about 10 metres from the pier steps, with one of the rescuers in pursuit, a life buoy was thrown in.
It was all over in minutes for the crowd of spectators. They included about 30 of the men’s supporters, who spoke in Putonghua among themselves and refused to answer questions from the media about why they were against the Occupy Central movement.
Before jumping, one of the four men, who would only give his name as Chan, said: «We can’t stand it any longer.»
The 52-year-old, who claimed to have no political affiliations, said he was aware that swimming in the harbour required prior approval from the Marine Department and admitted they had not filed an application.
Fellow jumper Shea Kai-chuen warned: «We will have no choice but to swim across the harbour if Occupy Central does take place and stops all the traffic, even the MTR service.»
The Occupy Central organisers plan to mobilise 10,000 people to stage a sit-in protest in the city’s main business district if the government fails to deliver a proposal for the 2017 chief executive election that meets international standards of universal suffrage.
Under the Shipping and Port Control Regulations, no swimming events are permitted in Hong Kong waters without permission from the Marine Department due to possible interference with sea traffic. Offenders are liable to a fine of HK$2,000.
No arrests were made in connection with yesterday’s protest.
Meanwhile, a convoy of 30 cars carrying members of a pro-Beijing business group yesterday drove to government headquarters in Admiralty to show their opposition to Occupy Central. They described Occupy organisers as blackmailing thugs.