HONG KONG (Reuters) - HSBC (HSBA.L) (0005.HK) won a legal bid on Monday to have members of the Occupy Hong Kong movement evicted from the open-air plaza beneath the bank’s Asian headquarters, bringing an end to one of the longest-running Occupy demonstrations.
The Hong Kong protests, sparked by the Occupy Wall Street movement that targeted U.S. financial policies blamed for the income gap between rich and poor, spanned a period of growing resentment in this city of 7 million people against perceived cozy ties between the government and big business.
The movement’s aim to draw worldwide attention to income inequality also touched a nerve in this former British colony, which has one of the biggest income gaps in Asia and property prices among the highest in the world.
Monday’s order came more than nine months after protesters pitched tents in the heart of Hong Kong’s financial district, home to global banks such as Standard Chartered (STAN.L) (2888.HK), Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and JP Morgan (JPM.N).
The protesters, who have been given until August 27 to vacate the site, remained defiant.
“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.
HSBC said it sought legal action after attempts to get the protesters to leave voluntarily failed.
The Hong Kong movement attracted students, young professionals, activists, the unemployed and the homeless, as well as victims of the Lehman mini-bond scandal who faced massive losses when the New York-based investment bank filed for bankruptcy in 2008.
The plaza was home to around 100 protesters at the peak of the movement, said spokesperson Tiv Wong, although only around 10 activists remained now.
Reporting by Clarie Lee; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Matt Driskill