February 24, 2015

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Cuts Another Corner

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Cuts Another Corner

Posted on February 18, 2015By Our CorrespondentHeadlineHong KongPolitics

CY cuts a deal

CY Leung dishes out favors in return for help for his son’s institute

President Xi Jinping may be waging war on higher level corruption on the mainland. But in Hong Kong, lower-octane skullduggery continues at the highest levels. Despite recent scandals involving former Chief Executive Donald Tsang and his once heir-apparent, Henry Tang, and the corruption conviction of former Chief Secretary Rafael Hui and a property tycoon, top officials appear incapable of keeping their public and private interests separate.

In the latest case, the current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying appears to have been dishing out favors in return for a huge contribution by a Hong Kong property tycoon to a Swedish institute where Leung’s son is a researcher.

The chairman of Chinese Estates Holdings, Lau Ming-wai, donated HK$300 million (US$38 million) to the prestigious Karolinska Institute, which in turn is to set up a research laboratory in the territory. That might seem an innocent enough donation with some benefit to Hong Kong’s role as a center for scientific research, in this case medical. However, the story is rather more complicated. Leung’s son Leung Chuen-yan is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Karolinskia Institute, a post he acquired by virtue of a grant from the Croucher Foundation, a fund created by a former leading Hong Kong stockbroker, to promote research by Hong Kong citizens at foreign universities.

The younger Leung’s qualifications for the post are not in dispute. What is, however, is why his father should have been so keen to promote Lau’s interest in the Institute, meeting its head, Professor Anders Hamsten, both in Hong Kong and in Europe when Leung visited last year. Lau was introduced to Hamsten at a dinner hosted by Leung and attended by the Swedish Consul-General in Hong Kong.

 While the son’s academic credentials are not in question, Leung’s evident spurring of Lau to make a major donation to it raises serious questions about Leung’s confusion of public and private roles.

Making it look even more suspicious it that it has been widely reported that Lau was to be appointed to a senior position in the Hong Kong government – Undersecretary at the Information and Technology Bureau. This is to be a new ministry supposedly to foster IT development. However, its creation has been held up by a filibuster by pan-democratic members of the Legislative Council. They have always opposed the need for such a ministry, which they fear may be used to control internet content.

Lau Ming-wai is 34 years old and last year assumed the chairmanship of the family company following conviction in Macau for corruption of his father, Joseph Lau Leung-hung. The elder Lau, always a controversial figure, was sentenced to eight years in prison for a HK$20 million bribe to former Macau public works minister Ao Man-long.

However, as there is no extradition treaty between Macau and Hong Kong, Lau can live happily there without fear of having to serve his sentence.  Meanwhile the son has been busy getting in the good books of the Hong Kong government, supporting the semi-official Bauhinia Foundation and being awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the City University of Hong Kong, which had early received a HK$127 million gift from the Joseph Lau Charitable Trust.

Even assuming that Lau is qualified for the job his gift to Leung son’s Institute, the matter raises red flags. A Chief Executive with any sense of propriety would have avoided such obvious links which have all the hallmarks of quid pro quo deals. Though not overtly corrupt they show a disdain for the needs to keep family and public interests in separate spheres.

This latest show of disdain follows revelations last year that Leung had been paid HK$50 million by an Australian company, UGL, which had acquired the bankrupt British-based DTZ. This was supposedly in return for a two year non-compete agreement by Leung, a surveyor by profession, who was a DTZ shareholder.

This was controversial on several grounds. First, it was at the expense of the creditors of DTZ. Second, his services could not have been worth so much unless he had some connections to potentially corrupt mainland officials. Third, although most of the money was paid after he became Chief Executive, it was not declared as income for tax purposes on the grounds that it was not payment for work but payment for non-work.

Whether or not the deal was legal – it is still under investigation in London where DTZ was then based and whose major creditor was Lloyds Bank – it again showed a worrisome willingness to ignore propriety. Leung was out to maximize his income regardless of how the tax-paying public viewed the behavior of top officials.

But Leung has probably long felt that his long record of slavish loyalty to the Communist Party in Beijing is adequate protection and that he can mix public and private interests with impunity. And Lau knows how to use the family fortune to buy its way back into official favor after the Macau scandal that claimed his father.

February 17, 2015


大律師公會主席石永泰 英文講辭全文


2015/1/13 — 18:07


Chief Justice, Secretary for Justice, President of the Law Society, Members of the Judiciary, Members of the Legal Professions, Distinguished Overseas Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

One of the greatest British civil servants, Sir Humphrey Appleby, once said to his mentee, Bernard Woolley:-

“Speeches are not written for the audience to which they are delivered. Delivering the speech is merely the formality that has to be gone through in order to get the press release into the newspapers.1

Apart from being a very long press release, this speech is also my last speech as Chairman of the Bar, my swansong after two terms of office.

According to a report by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority published last November, many secondary school students misunderstood the concept of “Rule of Law” as merely meaning executing or obeying the law. The report recommended that students should enhance their understanding of the concept. People who rarely spoke about Rule of Law suddenly expressed many views. It is time for the independent Bar to offer a more balanced view.

In a speech I delivered on 5th September last year at the World Bar Conference in New Zealand entitled “The role of the advocate in the protection of human rights and the Rule of Law” I said the following:-

“There is no universal definition of `Rule of Law’. Many countries or nations claim to practise the Rule of Law but in fact what they practise is not “Rule of Law” as we understand the concept but, at most, Rule by Law or a very rudimentary form of Rule of Law namely that there shall be laws to regulate the conduct of individuals and that they should obey the laws made by the sovereign. 

And that sort of view sometimes has a superficial attraction about it.

China, the sovereign state for Hong Kong, does not practise the type of Rule of Law as we understand it to mean. It has its own reason for doing so, and I am not passing any judgment on it. Maybe (or maybe not) because of this, there was an increasing tendency on the part of the executive in Hong Kong, in its public statements, to emphasise the “obey the law” aspect of “Rule of Law”. Comical it may sound, the Government in Hong Kong has become accustomed in recent years to preface almost every description of what it does by the phrase “doing so according to law”. For example it would say that elections to the legislature had been held according to law, police had arrested suspects according to law, the Government governs Hong Kong according to law, policies are formulated and implemented according to law. Everything is done according to law.

To the untrained mind or the unsophisticated, this may sound very respectful to the concept of the Rule of Law. After all, to respect the Rule of Law one must obey the law and do things according to law. However, in my view and in the view of the Hong Kong Bar, ironically that could have the opposite effect of misleading the public as to the meaning of the Rule of Law. 

First, as we all know, Rule of Law means far more than just blind adherence to laws - respect for an independent judiciary, the need to ensure minimum contents of laws in terms of human rights protection, respect for the rights and liberty of the individual when law enforcers exercise their discretionary powers are examples of requirements of Rule of Law which go beyond just obeying the law. In fact it can be said that over-emphasis of the “obey the law” aspect of “Rule of Law” is the hallmark of a regime which is keen on using the law as a tool to constrain the governed, rather than as a means to constrain the way it governs. 

Second, such repeated notions of “doing things according to law” demean the law and deflect attention from the real issue. The problem arose when the public or the media comments on or criticizes a certain Governmental policy, or executive action, “on its merits” so to speak. No one complains about legality of conduct; rather,political responses or justifications are being called for. Law only provides the minimum requirement to be fulfilled by any Government. Responses by way of” “doing things according to the law” creates the misconception that many phenomena in society are the inevitable consequences of adhering to the law (when plainly they are not). Law had become the scapegoat or excuse.”

The phrase “Rule of Law” is often associated with well established liberal and civilized regimes. It has a positive connotation. Indiscriminate use of the phrase “Rule of Law” could confer undeserved moral respectability upon a “Rule by Law” or “Rule by Man” regime.

In particular, in a system without a truly independent judiciary and where laws are arbitrarily enforced, the judiciary and the executive “co-operate” to ensure that laws are interpreted in a way preferred by the executive and are used to suppress persons or entities who do not find favour with the Government. This is often dressed up as “Rule of Law”, but is in fact “Rule by Law”. “Do things according to law” means “do things according to our will”.

Fortunately Hong Kong is not such a regime, but eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

I now address the publication of the White Paper by the State Council in June 2014. A lot of controversies focused on whether judges were correctly characterized as “administrators” of Hong Kong. The matter was blamed on translation. However, the real problem with the relevant part of the White Paper is thatirrespective of translation, judges perform judicial tasks independently. The sovereign state should not purport to impose any ambiguous political requirements, such as to be “patriotic” or to “safeguard the country’s development interests”.

Of course our judges do not feel any pressure. But the White Paper sends a wrong message to the people of Hong Kong and the international community as to the role of the judiciary in Hong Kong. It also shows a gap in mindset. In systems subscribing to our concept of Rule of Law, the Government does not paternalistically issue edicts for judges to perform political tasks. This mentality may be commonplace on the Mainland, but is inappropriate here.

One invidious consequence of the White Paper is that it could be capitalized upon by foreign entities to discredit the Hong Kong legal system. Even an entirely proper decision by our independent Court of Final Appeal, theFG Hemisphere case (also known as the Congo case) about State Immunity has been erroneously characterized by some in order to attack our status as an international dispute resolution centre. The inappropriate part of the White Paper about judges could be seized upon to cast spurious aspersions against the Hong Kong Judiciary.

The fact is – according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2014–2015, Hong Kong was ranked fifth among 144 jurisdictions worldwide and the first in Asia for judicial independence. Our Court of Final Appeal receives support from leading common law jurisdictions, not only in arbitration/business law but other areas such as public law and criminal law. Atruly independent judiciary renders decisions – often politically unwelcome decisions - without fear or favour. I have no doubt that our judges are not going to decide cases any differently as a result of the White Paper.

Speaking of judicial independence, there is a tendency that whenever judges rule against the Government they are hailed as heroes, but when they rule against democracy supporters, insinuations are expressed about the “demise” of the Rule of Law. Judgments can of course be criticized on legal grounds, but to insinuate that judges have become part of the machinery of oppression, or that they are succumbing to pressure and beginning to “co-operate” with the Government, just because they rule against democracy supporters is to apply “double standards”. Such views are as misguided as certain views from the Establishment that judges were “anti-Government” just because they rule against the Administration. Judicial independence means that courts render their decisions regardless of the political affiliation of the parties. It does not mean some people are always right. 

On 31st August 2014 the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) issued its decision on the Chief Executive election in 2017 and LegCo election in 2016. The Bar’s position on the unreasonably restrictive features of the decision has been clear, even before the NPCSC made its decision. Let me summarize the Bar’s specific views in its written submissions dated 28th April 2014 at paragraphs 55 to 69:-

(1) The majority of the members of the nomination committee should be elected or selected in a way to ensure maximum participation by members of the electorate. If disproportionate weight is given to functional sectors, contentious issues will arise as to whether the committee is “broadly representative”.

(2) If a person can only be nominated with the support of a majority of the nomination committee, it is impossible to see how the electorate can have a free or true choice of different candidates. The requirement is regressive when compared to the method for selecting the Chief Executive in 2012.

(3) The nomination committee should ensure the production of a spectrum or plurality of candidates for the voters both in terms of number and political views. The “capping” of the number of candidates at two to four2 does not have much credence.

The NPCSC decision led to the “Umbrella Movement”. The concept of civil disobedience is controversial. It involves breaking the law, but there are historical examples where civil disobedience had brought forth political or social changes. It is not possible to generalize in a sentence or two whether the concept is “right” or “wrong” in the abstract. Yet, even the initiators of the Movement accept that the concept has self-constraining features. In particular, acts of civil disobedience must not be lightly resorted to, participants should use non-violent means and willingly accept punishment. Lord Hoffmann has added that participants must not cause excessive damage or inconvenience. The Bar would add that respect for the rights of others and for orders made by an independent judiciary are two further constraints.

Even though by and large the Movement had been carried out in a peaceful and orderly way, the actual conduct of many people overstepped legitimate limits in many respects as time went by. Regrettably, many influential figures have distorted or even denied such limits, sometimes through creative interpretation of philosophical writings. For example some argued that disobeying a civil judgment would not adversely affect the Rule of Law, or that the Rule of Law is a concept whichonly constrains the Government and citizens’ conduct can never adversely impact on the Rule of Law. Some banners said, “we pay no heed to injunctions”. General comments made by Non Permanent Judges in interviews or academic discussions were taken out of context and deified, and misinterpreted as statements of positive support/approval of what wasactually said and done duringthe Movement. People who fairly criticized excessive aspects of the conduct of the Movement were indiscriminately demonized as “democracy traitors” or Haruki Murakami’s “tall wall”. Anyone who does not unreservedly support everything done during the Movement was castigated as supporting “Rule by Law”. Such passionate views attracted a number of “likes” or “support” on social media.

As the saying goes, “Going too far is as bad as not going far enough”. These views go too far. One important aspect of the Rule of Law is that everyone is equal before the law. The Government possesses dominant public power, and power tends to corrupt. Understandably, discussion of Rule of Law tends toemphasize constraint on Governmental power. But it is wrong to turn this upside-down and argue that Rule of Law is only about constraining the Government and that citizens’ conduct can never impact negatively on the Rule of Law. For example, open calls for defiance of court orders must adversely impact on the Rule of Law because they directly confront an independent judiciary – the very institution relied upon by the public to uphold the Rule of Law.

I am not alone. Mr Justice Bokhary said in an interview on 23rd November 2014:- 

“It is difficult to see how disobedience of a court order would not impact the rule of law. I don’t think it will deal rule of law a death blow, but it does impact on it …. Sometimes in some places the law is so oppressive that anybody in opposition to the regime would come up against the oppressive law.… But in a place like Hong Kong I don’t think we have that kind of situation”

Mr. Andrew Li, the former Chief Justice, was more specific and direct in an interview on 17th November 2014:-

“The means used [by participants] cannot override the Rule of Law. The scale of the Movement, plus the fact that it had taken place for a long time, and the fact that Court Orders had not been respected – these had a negative impact on and had eroded the Rule of Law.3

These words are particularly valuable to the public because they come from a well-respected jurist and pupil master to many eminent lawyers, judges and politicians. He is in a unique position to comment on the Movement – not in the abstract, but as it happened here, day-by-day. His words succinctly encapsulated the point that citizens are constrained by the concept of Rule of Law, the need to respect the right of others and court orders and to avoid excessive inconvenience in the context of civil disobedience. A line can indeed be drawn between nobility of ends and excessiveness of means.

Many have asked, “whose side is the Bar on?” We owe no affiliation to any side. We are independent, not only from the Establishment but also from party political forces irrespective of their leadership or pedigree. Our independence makes our views on Rule of Law all the more valuable and balanced. We are not the “Reserves Team” of political parties who have – for many years – wrongly assumed that they could call upon the Bar to readily rally for their political acts from a “Rule of Law angle”. We can criticize the Establishment, as well as those with a “political halo”. Sometimes it takes more courage to criticize the latter than the former. I am quite sure that despite what I have unequivocally said about Rule of Law, Judicial Independence, the White Paper and the NPCSC Decision, there are still people who would express their discontent in a high profiled manner, simply because we have not said everything in the way they had wanted us to say, or because we had dared to criticize them. Do we blindly stand for one side, or the other, or do we stand only for the Rule of Law? You’ll be the judge.

Many point to the NPCSC decision as the cause of the problem. Some point to police misconduct (such as use of tear gas on 28th September, which the
Bar has condemned) and argued that “they are wrong first and they are worse”. However, two wrongs do not make a right. There can be no “tit-fortat”.
That others have acted wrongly, harshly, or unsatisfactorily does not mean that you can thereby legitimize your own excesses. That said, it would be self-deceiving to gloss over the deficiencies of the NPCSC decision and the underlying discontent by repeating the official classification that the Movement was “unlawful”. The present conundrum can only be solved with enlightenment and political wisdom by all parties concerned.

The Umbrella Movement had created a lot of “gods”4. There are no gods in the legal world. But there is a goddess – the blindfolded goddess Themis, holding the scales of justice. One afternoon about a year ago near the High Court, a Mainland tourist asked me where the statue of Themis was. I offered to walk her to the old Supreme Court/Legco building to show her the statue. On our way, we walked past the red brick Court of Final Appeal building. I tried to introduce it to her. She showed little interest and said, “I only want to see the blindfolded goddess”. She told me she was a lawyer from the Mainland.

This could simply be a Mainland tourist taking pictures to show her friends on Weibo5. But in my idealistic mind, I am inclined to think that this symbolizes how our notion of Rule of Law is coveted in the eyes of our brethrens across the border, especially the younger ones. We should never underestimate their yearning for the universal value of fairness and justice; we should never underestimate our own advantage and our ability to inform and enlighten them – students, lawyers and judges – not just about technical rules and regulations, or practice collaboration, but about our concept of Rule of Law, our most treasured asset which money cannot buy. Perhaps one day, the lady lawyer need not come here to look for Themis – not because of the “demise” of the Rule of Law in Hong Kong (as some doomsayers have kept saying), but because the spirit of Themis could be found all over the Mainland.

It is too early for me to say Happy Chinese New Year to you, and so instead, before I bid my final farewell, I wish you all good health and good luck. God bless you, and God bless Hong Kong.

Paul Shieh SC
Hong Kong Bar Association


1 From the episode “A Question of Loyalty” in the BBC series “Yes Minister”.
2 NPCSC Decision eventually stipulated “two to three”
3 Translated from Cantonese
4 Student idols
5 Mainland Chinese social media


February 12, 2015

Taiwan inmates take own lives after 14-hour prison siege

Taiwan inmates take own lives after 14-hour prison siege

TAIPEI: Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou has condemned a 14-hour prison siege by six inmates at a jail in Kaohsiung.
Authorities say the hostage standoff ended early on Thursday (Feb 12) morning after the six armed inmates shot and killed themselves. The hostages, a prison warder and two guards, were freed unharmed.
Local media recorded an earlier phone interview with one of the hostage takers. “We just want two bottles of Kaoliang spirit,” prison inmate Cheng Li-teh said. “After drinking, we’ll take our own lives. If you give us the spirits, we will not harm the hostages.”
Hours after the spirits were delivered, authorities say the inmates freed the hostages and took their own lives.
Throughout the negotiation, police say they complied with most of the demands made by the inmates. One of which was for officials to read a statement to the public, in which the inmates expressed anger over former President Chen Shui-bian’s recent medical parole.
The inmates also claimed to be falsely charged and convicted, and this had caused them to be sentenced to jail terms of between 25 years and life.
Later, Wu Hsien-chang, director of the Agency of Corrections, read a statement from Cheng. "I didn’t kill anyone, but was convicted of murder and sentenced to 18 years in jail. I can’t accept it. I’m only the tip of the iceberg. There are many inmates who share my feelings. Who is going to speak on our behalf?” 
But there were also made additional demands to meet with a former leader of the Bamboo Union, Chang An-lo. Some of the hostage takers were members of the same triad. That request was denied due to safety concerns. 
However, that did not stop Chang from making contact with the inmates on his mobile. “Police are about to storm in,” Chang told the inmates. “You’d better watch out. Stop talking, they’re going in.”
Questions are now being raised whether Chang’s last phone call may have led to the inmates taking their own lives. “Negotiators have tried to convince them to surrender and not to do anything stupid, but they ignored the calls,” said Justice Vice Minister Chen Ming-tang. “We’ve also asked their families to call them, so we regret that things ended this way.”
This is the first time in the history of Taiwan that a prison warden has been taken hostage by inmates. The Justice Ministry has pledged to tighten prison security and keep a close watch on the emotional and mental state of inmates. President Ma Ying-jeou has also ordered a thorough review of the prison management system to prevent such tragedies from happening again.
- CNA/ec

February 10, 2015

Hong Kong woman guilty in Indonesian maid 'torture' case

Hong Kong woman guilty in Indonesian maid 'torture' case

HONG KONG: A Hong Kong woman was convicted Tuesday (Feb 10) of beating and starving her Indonesian maid, keeping her prisoner in a "torture" case that sparked international outrage and spotlighted the plight of migrant domestic workers.
The verdict, read out to a packed courtroom, was met with cheers by activists and supporters of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, a former domestic helper who has become the face of a campaign for improved workers' rights in the financial hub.
Pictures of the injuries sustained by the 24-year-old, who was admitted to hospital in her home country emaciated and in a critical condition, at the hands of mother-of-two Law Wan Tung fuelled anger in Indonesia and shocked Hong Kong.
"She was, for want of a better word, a prisoner in those premises," Judge Amanda Woodcock said, referring to Sulistyaningsih, who told the court she had been "tortured".
"I am sure the defendant did assault, wound, and threaten (Sulistyaningsih) as charged. She was completely isolated, and (this) helps explain why this abuse could go on for so long without her retaliating or anyone knowing. When Erwiana left Hong Kong she was a shadow of her former self."
Law, 44, who lowered her head but appeared to be calm when the verdict was announced, was found guilty of 18 of the 20 charges laid against her, including grievous bodily harm and criminal intimidation.
The only two counts she was not found guilty of were related to her treatment of another domestic worker. She had denied all the charges, and faces sentencing on Feb 27, with a maximum possible jail term of seven years.
The charges against Law, who was arrested in January 2014, included grievous bodily harm with intent, assault, criminal intimidation and failure to pay wages.
A jubilant Sulistyaningsih, clad in a black t-shirt with her face and the word "justice" emblazoned on it, hugged activists after the decision was handed down. "I am very happy because I got justice from Hong Kong," she told journalists outside the courthouse, while thanking people for their support.
During the six-week trial, prosecutors said Law turned household items such as a mop, a ruler and a clothes hanger into "weapons" against her maids.
Sulistyaningsih has described in vivid detail how she was "tortured", starved, beaten and ritually humiliated by Law, with prosecutors saying she was treated as an "unpaid slave".
"It's a victory for Erwiana," an ecstatic Aaron Ceradoy, programme coordinator for the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, told AFP outside the courthouse. "It would be good if the migrant community can use this case to strengthen their position on their demands for changes in policies."
The case sparked protests by migrant workers in Hong Kong, and has thrust the plight of migrant domestic helpers in Asia and the Middle East into the headlines after shocking incidents of torture and even killings.
Sulistyaningsih said she lived for months on nothing but meagre portions of bread and rice, sleeping only four hours a day and being so badly beaten by her employer that she was knocked unconscious.
Law's defence accused the former maid and another two domestic helpers involved in the case of being "opportunistic", and that the injuries could have been caused by accidents, but Woodcock in her ruling dismissed those claims as "desperate and fanciful".
"The message should be brought home that if you live in a society where you're fortunate enough to employ a domestic helper, they're still protected by the law," police detective superintendent David Cameron told reporters after the verdict.
Hong Kong is home to nearly 300,000 maids from mainly Southeast Asian countries - predominantly Indonesia and the Philippines - and criticism from rights groups over their treatment is growing.
Amnesty International in 2013 condemned the "slavery-like" conditions faced by thousands of Indonesian women who work as domestic staff and accused authorities of "inexcusable" inaction.
It found that Indonesians in particular were exploited by recruitment and placement agencies who seize their documents and charge them excessive fees, with false promises of high salaries and good working conditions.
- AFP/ac

February 08, 2015

How to Survive a Plane Crash: 10 Tips That Could Save Your Life

July 30, 2013

Manly SkillsSurvival

How to Survive a Plane Crash: 10 Tips That Could Save Your Life

Brett & Kate McKay


We often think that plane crashes are catastrophic and unsurvivable events. Thanks to movies and 24/7 news channels, the enduring image of a plane crash usually involves an aircraft plummeting to the ground from 30,000 feet and obliterating everyone on board in a terrifying fireball.

Thankfully, that isn’t the case. In a report analyzing airline accidents from 1983 to 2000, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the survival rate of crashes was 95.7%. Sure, there are some accidents where everyone, or nearly everyone, died, but those are much rarer than you’d guess based on what you see in the news. The NTSB found that even in serious accidents where fire and substantial damage occurred, 76.6% of passengers still survived.

Combine those stats with the relative rarity of airplane accidents even happening in the first place (the average American’s chances of being killed in an airplane crash are about 1 in 11 million), and you can see that flying is actually the safest form of transportation there is. Taking to the road on an average day is far more dangerous — it just doesn’t feel like it because you have four (or two) wheels on the ground and a sense of control.

But it’s important to take note of another interesting tidbit that the FAA and NTSB found in their research on plane crashes: 40% of fatalities that did occur happened in crashes that were survivable. Close to half of all airplane crash fatalities might have been prevented had passengers taken proper action.

While the odds of being involved in a plane crash may be slim, they’re not zero. If it happened to you, would you know what to do to increase your chances of walking away? In today’s post we’re going to offer research-backed advice from Ben Sherwood’sThe Survivor’s Club on what you can do to make it out of a plane crash alive.

You’ve Only Got 90 Seconds to Get Out

Understanding this is the key ingredient to surviving, and will frame all the other tips in this post. If you’ve survived the crash landing, you have a pretty good chance of getting out of the airplane alive. But, you only have 90 seconds to do so.

You see, the thing that kills most passengers in a plane crash isn’t the actual impact, it’s the fire that typically engulfs the plane afterwards. Folks may be surprised they survived the impact, and become complacent about other dangers. People vastly underestimate how quickly a fire can spread and consume an airplane. Surveys show that most people think they actually have about 30 minutes to get out of a burning plane. The reality is that it takes, on average, just 90 seconds for a fire to burn through the plane’s aluminum fuselage and consume everything and everyone in it. If that sounds scary, it should; you need to be motivated to get your rear end out of the plane!

Be Fit

The FAA has rigorously studied and crunched the numbers on airplane crash survivors, as well as tested nearly 2,500 people in simulated evacuations to find out the type of person who typically survives. Their results?

Young, slender men have the best odds of surviving a plane crash. (Old, fat women have the worst odds — sorry Aunt Myrtle.)

The FAA has found that differences in age, gender, and girth account for 31% of the difference between people’s evacuation times. Escaping a plane crash requires you to maneuver quickly through narrow aisles with luggage and wreckage strung about. You may even have to throw blockages out of your way. You then have to slip through an emergency exit that may only be twenty inches wide. Kind of hard to do if you’re fat and out of shape.

Not only can being out of shape reduce your chances of survival, it could also put other people’s lives at risk because they have to wait for you to exit safely. Hold-ups at the exit due to passengers having trouble deplaning has caused many unnecessary deaths. In a runway collision that occurred in 1991, investigators found the charred remains of 10 passengers lined up in the aisle waiting to leave the wing exit; folks who froze up and had trouble squeezing through the exit had created a fatal bottleneck.

If you’re on the rotund side, make it a goal to shed some of that table muscle so you’ll be fit enough to save your own life and perhaps the lives of others (and not just on a plane, either, but in all kinds of survival situations).We’ve got plenty of workouts on our site to choose from to get started. If you’re looking for more practical and accessible exercise and diet tips, I highly recommend Nerd Fitness.

Fly in Bigger Planes if Possible

If you have the choice between flying in a puddle jumper or a 737, choose the 737. According to FAA investigations, larger planes have more energy absorption in a crash which means you’re subjected to less deadly force, and that may equate to a better survival rate. This fact alone is why I try to fly on Southwest — whose fleet consists only of 737s — whenever possible. The carrier is also rated as the third safest in the world(their recent landing gear malfunctionnotwithstanding). (Landing gear malfunctions aren’t actually a big deal, by the way.) Also avoid regional carriers if possible — they have anaccidents and incidents rate double that of national carriers and their pilots are often less experienced and overworked. Note that national airlines frequently use a regional carrier for some of the routes that fly under their name.

Remember the Five Row Rule

A few years ago, Popular Mechanicsput out an article that analyzed every commercial plane crash in the U.S. and where survivors were sitting in each accident. The article’s author concluded that in the event of a crash, the safest place to be sitting was in the back of the plane. After reading that article, I started to sit in the back of airplanes. Come to find out, Popular Mechanics’ conclusion isn’t well supported by expert research.

According to the folks who dedicate their lives to studying plane crashes, the statistics are inconclusive because every plane crash is different. Sure, many crashes are nose-first, thus making the back of the plane safer, but several are tail-first (as with the recent incident in San Francisco) or wing-first. You just don’t know what kind of crash you’ll be in. Instead of worrying about whether your seat is near the back, focus on finding a seat near an exit. According to researcher Ed Galea, those who survive a plane crash typically only have to move an average of five rows to escape.Beyond five rows the chance of getting out alive decreases.

The best seat to have is in the exit row as you’d be the first one out should you need to exit. If you can’t snag that seat, go for the aisle. Not only do you have easier access to the lavatory during flight, you also have a 64% chance of survival compared to the 58% chance you’d have sitting in a window seat. Also avoid bulkhead rows. Sure, you have more leg room, but the walls don’t “give” as much as seats when you collide with them in a crash.

Galea admits that there are exceptions to the Five Row Rule; he’s found people that successfully moved 19 rows to get to an exit. Moreover, even if you’re just two rows away from an exit, there’s always the chance that the exit door will be blocked or jammed. Overall, though, your chances of survival will increase if you’re within five rows of an exit.

Overcome the Normalcy Bias With an Action Plan

As we discussed in detail in our post on why we’re hardwired for sheepdom, we’re all naturally affected by the Normalcy Bias. The Normalcy Bias causes our brains to assume that things will be predictable and normal all the time. When things aren’t normal, it takes our brain a long time to process this. Instead of springing to action when something unexpected happens, our brain kind of shrugs and figures that what is going on can’t be so bad, because truly bad events are so out of the ordinary.

Investigators have discovered that normalcy bias has caused many unnecessary deaths in plane crashes. Instead of taking immediate action after a crash, people sort of mill around. Many will even start looking for their carry-on luggage before getting to the exit.

Normalcy bias manifested itself in dramatic fashion during a plane collision in 1977 that killed 583 people — the worst aircraft disaster in history. Two 747 jumbo jets collided with each other just above the runway on the small island of Tenerife (part of the Canary Islands off of Morocco). After the collision, one jet tumbled to the ground and exploded, killing all 248 passengers on board.

The other jet crash-landed, but didn’t explode. The collision sheared away the top of the jet and flames began to take over the aircraft. Passengers who survived the initial collision could have escaped unharmed, but they had to act fast. Paul Heck, a passenger on the burning plane (who was 65, by the way), sprung to action. He unbuckled his seatbelt, grabbed his wife’s hand, and hightailed it to the nearest exit. They, along with 68 other passengers, survived, while 328 died.

In an interview after the disaster, Mr. Heck noted how most people just sat in their seats acting like everything was fine even after colliding with another plane and seeing the cabin fill with smoke. Researchers believe that passengers had a little over a minute to escape before being consumed by the flames, and are convinced that if more people had taken immediate action instead of remaining in their seats pretending like things were okay, the survival rate would have been much, much higher.

To overcome the normalcy bias, you need to have an action plan on what you’re going to do in the event of an accident every single time you get on the plane. Know where the exits are. When you’ve spotted the nearest exit, count the number of rows between yourself and that row. Should it be nighttime, or the interior lights fail, you won’t have to succumb to confusion because you’ll know right where to go. Size up the passengers around you to see who could be potential roadblocks to your exit. If you’re traveling with kids, talk to your wife about who will be responsible for which kid in the event of an accident. Mentally rehearse quickly springing to action as soon as the plane comes to a stop.

Another reason it’s important to have an action plan is that there’s a good chance you won’t have too much assistance from the flight crew. One study found that 45 percent of the flight attendants in survivable crashes are incapacitated in some way. You need to be ready to take action without direction from anyone.

Read the Safety Card and Listen to the Flight Attendants

Another thing you can do to overcome the Normalcy Bias is to read through the safety card as well as listen to the flight attendants when they give their pre-flight safety spiel. Just because you’ve amassed enough frequent flier miles to circumnavigate the globe 1,000 times, you’re definitely not off the hook. You may think you’re justifiably confident, but you’re probably complacent; in a reportpublished a few years ago, the FAA found that frequent fliers were the least informed on what to do and most susceptible to the normalcy bias in the event of a plane crash.

Re-reading the safety card will remind you where the nearest exits are and what to do during a crash landing. As you read through the safety guidelines, formulate your action plan.

Remember the Plus 3/Minus 8 Rule

In the aviation world, Plus 3/Minus 8 refers to the first three minutes after takeoff and the last eight minutes before landing. According to flight crash investigators, close to 80% of all plane crashes occur during this timeframe (the events leading up to the recent Asiana plane crashhappened during the last 8 minutes of descent). In between those times, the chances of a plane crash occurring drop dramatically. Thus, if you want to up your chances of survival, you need to be extra vigilant and ready to take action during the first 3 minutes after takeoff and the last 8 minutes before landing. Here are some suggestions from The Survivor’s Club on what to do and not do during Plus 3/Minus 8:

Don’t sleep.Make sure your shoes are on and secured. If you’re traveling with your wife or girlfriend, make sure she’s wearing flats and not high heels. It’s hard to run in stilettos.Don’t drink before getting on a plane. You want to be fully present in the event of a crash.Make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened — low and tight.Go over your action plan.

You don’t need to be paranoid during this time, just vigilantly relaxed.

Put on Your Oxygen Mask as Soon as It Drops

Airplane cabins are pressurized so you can breathe normally at 30,000 feet. When a cabin loses pressure, there’s so little air at high altitudes that getting oxygen to your bloodstream is next to impossible. That’s where oxygen masks come in. They pump pure oxygen into your nose and mouth so that you can get the air you need.

In an event where the mask drops from above, put it on as soon as it drops. According to passenger studies, most folks think they can survive an hour without a mask after a plane loses pressure. You actually just have a few seconds.Just a few seconds of oxygen deprivation can cause mental impairment. If you want get out of a crashed airplane alive, you’ll want all your mental faculties intact when it lands. Also, follow the safety guidelines of securing your mask first before helping others secure theirs. You’re pretty much useless to others if you’re not getting oxygen to your brain.

Assume Brace Position

I always thought the brace positions were kind of silly. There’s no way that curling up in a ball would help you survive in a plane crash. But research has shown that brace positions do indeed up the chances of survival in an emergency crash landing. The positions help reduce the velocity of your head when it inevitably slams into the seat in front of you. Moreover, they help minimize limb flailing.

Also, make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened — low and tight — over your lap. Those bad boys are designed to withstand 3,000 pounds of force, which is about three times as much as your body could handle without passing out. You can trust ‘em.

Forget Your Carry On Luggage, Remember the Kids

Alright. The plane has crash landed and you’re still alive. Time to get to those exits as fast as you can. Remember, you only have 90 seconds.

Believe it or not, you need to be reminded to forget your carry-on luggage! It will slow you down and block others’ escape, and it may injure you or someone else if you try to get down the very steep inflatable slides with it. You can get another iPad when you return safely to your home.

In your rush to get out of the plane, don’t forget your kids. That actually happens. Your brain does stupid things in disasters. Keep reminding yourself, “I have kids. I have kids. I have kids.” Ideally, you should have a plan with your wife and kids on who goes with who in case of an emergency exit.

Have any of you been involved in a plane crash? Did you notice normalcy bias take hold of passengers? What do you think helped you escape alive? Share with us in the comments!


Source: The Survivor’s Club by Ben Sherwood (Highly recommend picking this up. Crammed with useful information for the sheepdog-in-training.)

Illustrations by Ted Slampyak

Brett & Kate McKay

February 03, 2015

[Undergrad/HKUSU] J.Y.: HK Independence from A Military Perspective

Thursday, 29 January 2015

[Undergrad/HKUSU] J.Y.: HK Independence from A Military Perspective

HK Independence from a Military Perspective

Translated by HKCT Editorial Team, Written by J.Y. @ Undergrad, HKUSU (2014)

(Click to view larger version)

Hong Kong Independence (HKI) shall always be the last resort. Not only does independence mean losing the military protection by the Chinese army, orphaning Hong Kong in the international front; it also symbolises the separation of China's sovereignty of Hong Kong--a subject of great sensitivity to China. Even if we can resolve the problem of local supplies, but practically HKI campaign is a separatist revolution. Let's not forget that we are facing an autocratic regime; and it is a no-brainer to expect violent confrontation given Beijing's conservative attitude. Putting the motive of revolution aside, how to set independence in motion is an unavoidable conundrum that proponents of HKI have to face. Historically, the [ways an means] of an independence movement boils down to one of three events:

- armed independence;
- independence fostered by "foreign forces"; and
- independence with political negotiation.

With China's Communist Party in power and hungry with ambitions who sees Hong Kong as a means of bringing benefits unto itself, it is near impossible for Hong Kong to negotiate for its independence fairly and squarely. With one way down, are the other two ways viable options for Hong Kong?


An armed independence movement aims to achieve independence and autonomy by confronting the sovereign state with armed forces. Hence, the prerequisite of an armed independence movements is a local armed force. The price of independence by blunt force is no doubt astronomical, but here we will still present the arguments for the sake of discussion.

We can study the feasibility of mobilising internal forces against external forces. A local armed force must rely on number and armaments. For army, despite having a population of seven million, it is impractical to count all of them as all social and economic activities that sustain the city will cease. For armament, as Hong Kong is not an military region, the only form of weaponry is within the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Garrison and the Police Force. Any form of navy or air force requires far greater resources, so the only possible armed independence for Hong Kong would be setting up an infantry regiment.

As to the formation of a local army, we can take reference from Singapore's National Service (NS), the compulsory enlistment system in the nation. All of the 1.9 million male Singaporean citizens not holding a foreign nationality and who have attained the military age is required by law to be enlisted for two years. Singapore is currently protected by a force of 31,800 regular servicemen, 39,800 active personnel and over 950,000 reserve personnel, which correspond to 1.8%, 2.2% and 52.7% of the male population, respectively.

With about 2,680,000 physically-fit male over the age of 18 in Hong Kong, it is possible that we can have a local army of 50,000 regular soldiers, assuming a similar conscription proportion. If Hong Kong is to adopt the Singapore military age between 16 and 24, the number rises to 66,000 regular servicemen each year. After a decade, at least 700,000 personnel would be available as reserve army. As for expenditure, military expenses of Singaporean government total around USD9.9 billion every year, taking up 3.6% of its GDP. According to the same percentage, with our GDP in 2012 at USD263.3 billion, a sum of USD9.47 billion would be needed to sustain our military force, which would make up around 18.6% of the total expenditure in the 2012-2013 fiscal year (HKD393.7 billion).

Having said that, even if proponents of HKI can mobilise local forces, military pressure from China still exists. As the ancient Chinese military treatise The Art of War posits, "Precise knowledge of self and precise knowledge of the threat leads to victory". We have a garrison of 6,000-strong PLA stationed in Hong Kong. They are responsible to Beijing for the defense of Hong Kong. With army, navy and air forces spreading around HK, the PLA will be tackling the safety issue if necessary. So when there is HKI revolution, the first obstacle will be these PLA. As Hong Kong is next to Macau, there are 1,000-strong Macau Garrison. We have to face 7,000 PLAs, which means violent and blood scenes will be unavoidable if confrontation has to take place.

And if local force could achieve temporary victory in Hong Kong and get the armament and materials of HK and Macau, HKI supporters still have to face the army across the river. There are seven military regions in China, and Hong Kong is under Guangzhou Military Region, which looks over Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Hubei and Hainan. Its mission is to protect the south, and provide support to HK and Macau Garrison. When HKI revolution took place, and the Garrisons were evicted, the Guangzhou Garrison will be alert immediately. It mainly stations in Guangdong and Guangxi, with the 41st and 42nd Group Army. 41st has one division, five battalions and four regiments, 42nd has one division, nine divisions and four regiments, and there are 130,000 army in two Group Armies, with army, infantry, tank, armoured, artillery and so on.

But on the other hand, the HKI troops could only obtain limited armaments from the PLA Garrison and the Police Force, and more than 130,000 navy and air force excluding the army in Guangzhou Military Region. Facing such a large difference in armament with the strong military power across the river, Hong Kong cannot avoid being attacked. We might use "guerrilla tactics", but yet that turns the territory into a war zone, where daily lives could not be sustained anymore. The result would be equally pathetic, eventually the Chinese force will occupy Hong Kong, and HKI campaign will be completely destroyed.


If armed independence is not an easy approach, what about seeking support from external forces? Comparing to armed independence, seeking support from external forces enables more bargaining power for the region. For Hong Kong, we have the foundation for independence, but the catalytic element and power are not mature yet. If it is possible to seek intervention from external forces, it means the HKI revolution is not alone anymore, and will become a symbol of upward spiral from a local war to an international scheme. If Hong Kong has to reach HKI, there are two streams of forces: independence forces in China and the Great Powers overseas.

The independence campaign around China includes Tibet-Independence, Xinjiang/East Turkistan-Independence [hereinafter Xinjiang], and Taiwan-Independence. Three campaigns have a long history. The first two have stronger intention to have self-determination; while the latter one is due to conflicts in ideology. Putting Taiwan-Independence aside, the maxim of ethnic policy in China is to eliminate various cultures. The Five Races Under One Union policy no longer exist, causing Tibet and Xinjiang in a rage, thus standing out and confront Beijing. Although the background of three campaigns are different, yet the goal is the same, and HKI campaign can obtain their support theoretically. When Hong Kong and the other two regions become allies, there will be two possible results: 

A better one: the sparks of independence campaign spread over the south, the north and the west; China will be separated. HKI supporters will take such advantage and claim independence. When three places became independent, the alliance could turn into a confederate system, with diplomacy and containment to China. Yet in terms of territory, Tibet and Xinjiang are too far from Hong Kong, and it would be hard to support each other. Moreover, the flow of information might be obstructed, and HKI revolution might be suppressed quickly without getting support from the two regions. 

A worse one: When Beijing knows nearly 30% of its territory are separated, they might suppress these campaigns mercilessly with its own army, the result would be far less autonomy and more dictatorship.

As to the alliance between Hong Kong and Taiwan. Among the four regions, Taiwan is most mature to the step of independence. Taiwan became the territory of Kuomintang, as in the late 1940s, KMT lose lots of battles and retreated to an island with a strait in between. Although there are a lot of people supporting of "Taiwan-Independence" (TWI), but in fact, Taiwan has its own autonomy, political system, military forces, diplomacy (though limited) - it is nearly an independent political entity. The TWI supporters are just waiting for recognition in the world. The co-existence of China and Taiwan is due to the shady relationship in the politic and economic field. But if Taiwan supports Hong Kong, it is no different than declaring war to China. In recent years, the Taiwan authorities have been standing closer to China. It is not beneficial for Taiwan to support Hong Kong - at least not in Ma Ying-jeou's tenure.

While it is hard to have independence campaign with these three places, how about with other regions? For the current China, the incentive of new independence movement is still not in place, but there are still a lot of problem causing social instability. In recent years, Beijing tries to pull the reins in on the policy of southern languages/dialects, and to suppress regional culture. Few years ago, they tried to replace the broadcasting language of Guangzhou (Canton) TV with Mandarin, instead of the commonly-used language in the province, Cantonese. This caused a lot of reaction and confrontation from Cantonese people. Although the movement is limited, it shows that the conflicts between Cantonese and Beijing authorities are looming large, and it is not impossible to have a civil war. As Guangdong and Guangxi speaks Cantonese as well, and Hong Kong is adjacent to them, it might be possible to have a "Lingnan"-independence.

The south has been the revolution hotbed in the Chinese history. It is not a day-dream for Guangdong and Guangxi ["Two Guangs"] to be independent. During the Boxers' Rebellion, the revolutionaries once lobbied Li Hung-chang, the then famous diplomat and Governor of Two Guangs, for establishing a "Two Guangs" Republic. But the situation changed then, so it was put at the back burner. 

Two Guangs is at the south of Qinling[Translator's note: That's why it is called Lingnan], a region with rugged terrain. Guangxi is surrounded by mountains, and Guangdong is mountainous at its north, flatland at its south, therefore not so easy to tackle with. Two Guangs were originally the country of Nanyue/Nam Yuet back in Han dynasty, and was a hotly contested area. Now Hong Kong has no geographical obstacles, nor we have food to rely upon. 

If we reconsider the Two-Guangs-Independence, with its area of over 400,000 km2, it can become a barrier in protecting Hong Kong and providing supplies. If we refer to Singapore, from the estimates of 150 million residents in Two Guangs, then we can have at least 1.35 million of regular army, and with the forces in Hong Kong, then 1.4 million army in total can be gathered - that is a figure higher than half of the PLA amount. Yet lots of the population in Two Guangs are from other provinces, so it is still uncertain to tell the strength of such force.

We have two methods in applying this: bottom-up or top-down. Bottom-up one cannot really gather people, and Two Guangs include the Guangzhou Military Region, where the main force is the army. Such method will cause a prompt failure; top-down one will be a coup d'etat. In recent years, Xi Jinping combated many opposing factions in the excuse of anti-corruption, and put many of his nepots everywhere. Xu Fenlin (Guangzhou MR Chief of Staff) was quickly promoted as a commander and a general, and the political commissar Wei Liang was unconventionally promoted as a General too. Dual chief system is adopted in military regions of China, the commander controls the army, and the political commissar is the representative of the party, so as to "check and balance". 

If two sides are not harmonious, there will be problems in their regions. Xu had his proven record to sit important positions, but the unconventional promotion of Wei Liang might be one of the scheme of Xi Jinping. Both Xu and Wei are pro-Xi, but Xu sowed the seed of discord as he felt nothing to fear due to his qualifications. There might be internal struggles or even riots, and Xu might gain his own troops and become a pioneer in Two-Guangs-Independece. But at the time warlords might not treat Hong Kong well and allow autonomy of Hong Kong as Two-Guangs will be in a mess. Two-Guangs-Indepedence might in turn trap the development of local autonomous campaign as the losses outweighed the gains.

Mainland China is not a source, then what about "external power"? Since 1997, there are "Return-to-Britain's-rule" supporters, who supported returning into the rule of Britain, or even become a colony again. Stepping back: if there are no "return-to-Britain's-Rule" supporters, and we only focus on autonomy - will Britain add pressure to China and help Hong Kong? The return thing has to do with the communist phobia, which is intertwined with the background as a British colony. In the last century, Britain was once called as "the empire on which the sun never sets", as she has colonies in many time zones. But now the military strength of the UK is not comparable to the past, along with economic and diplomatic plights. 

In Afghanistan and Iraq War, the UK has toed the line with the US, and wants to be allies of the US. When two of the biggest economies in the world - China and India - rise, and the US wants to find new partners, then the status of UK will be faltered. So the UK will be conservative diplomatically, and it will be hard to foresee its support to HKI. Although the Sino-British Joint Declaration mentioned the delineation of rights between China and Hong Kong, the UK do not have the actual responsibility to pursue upon. A while ago the Parliament wanted to investigate on the practice of SBJD. It was but an act to allow the UK to be less embarrassing.

Will the US support us if the UK does not? We can treat Japan the same as the US given that Japan has been the cat's paw of the US in the Asian side after WWII and is still an ally of the US.  After all, Washington is eager to return to Asia-Pacific region, and Japan will be the chessboard of China and the US.

Regarding the conflict in South China Sea, the US has showed their support to Japan after their long term neutrality, and thus is said to aim at reducing China's sphere of influence. Meanwhile, Beijing has also taken a firm stance against it. Therefore it forms a constant antagonism between China and the US. Under such circumstance, the move is either to compromise or to take an unyielding stance.

Choosing the former one over the latter one means direct confrontation can be avoided. Yet it also represents the US, dodging the issues that might have caused offence to China, is not going to openly support HKI. In retrospect, the States intervened the First Taiwan Strait Crisis in a high-profiled manner; a mid-air collision between both sides' frighter aircrafts; the US bombing of the Embassy of the PRChina in Yugoslavia; all these have never triggered a war between the two countries. The tension of the two has existed for long. Now that the States has stepped into the issues of Ukraine, Iraq and their own political and economic situation, it is far too busy to ever participate in Asian matters. The political standoff against Asia may not turn to the fuse of wars.

But if the tension continues, a high possibility of wars outbreak is predicted. If such Sino-Japanese war does happen with the States engaging in, the HKI movement may arise among the chaos of wars given the instability of people's wills. To win the war, the States and Japan may help in achieving HKI, however, such independence will probably be reduced to a puppet regime. Also, the stability of a regime rising from a civil war is doubtful. Worse still, the Hong Kong stock market will be ruined overnight and all the autonomy resources and the estimation of economic cooperation will be hard to assumed.

The ideology of HKI has been originated and bred by the communism phobia sentiment in the 80s and the localism ideology since 2000s. Compared to other independence advocacy in other regions, the one in Hong Kong seems to be a political shout-out that is limited to emotional and sloganised acts. The feasibility and implementation have rarely been touched. And this is the need of existence of this article. I hope at least it can promote some further discussion on this matter.

Azurino at 20:29:00

February 02, 2015

13-year-old arrested, 6 police injured in MTR station scuffle (VIDEOS)

13-year-old arrested, 6 police injured in MTR station scuffle (VIDEOS)

By Coconuts Hong Kong February 2, 2015 / 11:37 HKT

Three people, including a 13-year-old, were arrested after a large scuffle outside the Tai Po Market MTR station yesterday.
About 300 people, who had reportedly just participated in the pro-democracy rally, clashed with anti-Occupiers outside the MTR station at around 5:30pm.
Six police officers and one man were injured in what the government describes as a “melee”, though we were disappointed to hear there were no swords nor javelins.
Three males, aged 13, 22 and 39, were arrested for assaulting a police officer, obstructing the police, wounding and assault. (According to the police, the 13-year-old is a “man”.)
The police gave repeated warnings, displayed warning banners and eventually drew their batons and held up canisters of pepper spray. They "had no other alternatives", said the police. 
In this video the police hold back a woman as the scuffle erupts around them.

The police escort people into vans:
The police said they "condemned the unlawful behaviours of protesters" and that they will not rule out further arrests upon a follow-up investigation of the incident.