​Funeral of 1967 riot ringleader held amid protests

The funeral for the ringleader of Hong Kong’s 1967 riots and former head of a pro-Beijing labour union, Yeung Kwong, was held at Hung Hom on Sunday. Several political groups protested outside the funeral parlour. 

Yeung was a prominent pro-Beijing activist who served as the ringleader of the 1967 riots and was the former chairman of Federations of Trade Unions (FTU).

The funeral was attended by Chief Executive CY Leung, Secretary for Home Affairs Paul Tsang, and former Secretary of Justice Elsie Leung.

FTU chairman Lam Shuk-yee praised Yeung for his “patriotism and activism on workers’ rights”, including his lobby for introducing water supply from China.

She also praised Yeung for his “courage in face of the authority’s prosecution” during the 1967 riots that forced the Colonial government into “addressing workers’ rights”.

Several localist groups protested outside the funeral parlour, criticising Yeung’s deeds during the seven-month civil unrest.

Activists opened bottles of champagne and displayed pineapples to mock the funeral procession. In 1967, pro-Beijing rioters placed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – referred to as “pineapples” – throughout the city centre during their so-called “anti-British struggle”.

Ray Wong, from localist group HK Indigenous, argued that the government should not commend a “riot leader” who caused “many casualties”, as he told Mingpao.

He later apologised to Yeung’s family, however, for his group’s actions at the funeral.

Yeung was best-known for his role in the 1967 riots, where thousands of pro-Beijing activists staged a series of protests in Hong Kong in opposition to British colonial rule.

In all, 51 people, including a popular radio host and a number of policemen, lost their lives, and thousands of police and British Army personnel were deployed to restore law and order.

In 2001, he was controversially awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal, Hong Kong’s top honour, by then-Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa for his “outstanding contribution to the labour movement and labour welfare in Hong Kong and for his dedicated community service”.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

 

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