6 July 2009
Dozens of angry Lehman Brothers minibond investors staged a noisy protest outside Government House yesterday, calling on Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to accept responsibility for their losses and step down.
Holding banners and shouting slogans, the protesters broke through police barriers on Upper Albert Road but returned to the pavement following police persuasion.
More than 50 people took part in the unauthorized demonstration, police said.
The protesters maintained Tsang has failed to supervise the banks and is not doing enough to help them.
Allied Victims of Lehman Products chairman Peter Chan Kwong-yue had initially suggested the protesters would refuse to leave until Tsang talked to them.
Chan, who organized the demonstration, had also expected a turnout of 200 to 300, but traffic diversions and the rain took their toll.
The group will now be applying for permission from the police to stage a protest outside the Legislative Council tomorrow when Tsang arrives for a question and answer session, Chan said. He expects between 400 and 500 people to attend.
Nobody from the government came forward to accept a letter from the group yesterday. And banks involved have not replied to investors even though the group has reached out to them, Chan said.
Upper Albert Road was reopened by early evening yesterday, with all protesters dispersed by 6pm.
A police spokesman said the force had not been informed in advance of the protest so the group violated the Public Order Ordinance. While there were no arrests, an investigation is under way.
Sixteen distributor banks for Lehman Brothers minibonds last Monday met the Securities and Futures Commission to indicate they would pay most investors 60 percent of the principal invested, while investors aged 65 or above would receive 70 percent of their investment. An official proposal was sent to the regulator on Thursday.
SFC chief executive Martin Wheatley said on Friday that the suggestion of paying investors only 60 percent of principal on average was not fair.
A 52-year-old woman linked to Lehman Brothers products reportedly jumped to her death from a Kowloon Bay apartment building on Friday.
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