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Activist Communique: Occupy Hong Kong must leave bank in two weeks or face eviction

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For almost a year since Occupy began, Occupy Hong Kong has been one of the last remaining global outposts of the movement; even outlasting the beating heart of Occupy Wall Street's encampment at Zucotti Park (Liberty Square).

Occupy Wall Street's encampment lasted from September 17, 2011 to November 15, 2011.

Occupy Hong Kong's encampment has been active for nine months in the open air plaza at the foot of the HSBC's (Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) Asian headquarters in the busy financial district, though it too is faced with extinction in the next two weeks via a court order – the legal bane of Occupy’s existence.

Why Occupy Hong Kong has existed for this long is a complex question which is well laid out in this New York Times article including, "Disenchantment with this dream has grown in recent years as the city's wealth gap has widened, property prices have soared and average citizens have become increasingly priced out, in many cases by well-heeled investors and visitors from the Chinese mainland. The average home price is around 13 times the median annual household income."

The saga of Occupy Hong Kong’s eviction began at the end of May 2012, with the fight playing out in the court system like so many other Occupy encampments.

HSBC first communicated to Occupy Hong Kong its desire for the encampment to move or shut itself down on May 29, 2012. The stated reason to the press and the court was that the bank wanted to the area under occupation to be used for charity and community events instead.  

On Monday July 16, 2012, HSBC went to court against defendants Ho Yiu-shing and Wong Chung-hang of Occupy Hong Kong and Mui Kai-ming, who is demonstrating at the Occupy Hong Kong site at the foot of HSBC's Asian headquarters over the execution of his sister's will.

The result of this court intervention – a soft-handed approach towards the defendants who were without legal representation – was to give them until August 13, 2012, to define in legal terms why they should have the right to stay.  In the one month interim, Occupy Hong Kong could remain at its site.

At its peak, Occupy Hong Kong had 100-200 occupiers at the camp last autumn, but now numbers remain at an estimated 10-20 people who attend the regular twice a week General Assemblies and only a handful who actually sleep at the encampment overnight.

According to the report by the New York Times, "On Saturday afternoon on the plaza beneath the HSBC building, only three middle-age occupiers were visible. One was napping on a sofa. A dozen or so tents were mostly empty except for simple bedding, household items and protest signs.

Alan Chiu, a 48-year-old technology specialist who is unemployed, has been living at the camp full time for the last two months. He says things have gone smoothly, except for when one of the members of the proudly leaderless group tried to proclaim himself the one in charge. That member has since moved nearby, where he camps alone in front of a row of automated teller machines."

Now that the August 13, 2012, deadline has passed, a Hong Kong judge has reviewed all the evidence and has ordered the Occupy Hong Kong encampment to voluntarily leave in two weeks.

If the occupiers – roughly a dozen in number – still refuse to leave by the August 27, 2012, deadline of 9:00 pm, both parties will turn to a court bailiff to decide the necessary next steps.

"We won't leave even if they (come) here to remove us and we'll hold a meeting tomorrow night to discuss how we'll deal with the eviction," said Leung Wing Lai, one of the core members of the Occupy Hong Kong movement.

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