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HK businesses campaign against Occupy Central movement

Five business chambers in Hong Kong have started an advertising campaign against an Occupy Central movement in the territory. 

HONG KONG: Business chambers in Hong Kong have started an advertising campaign against an Occupy Central (OC) movement in the territory. Pro-democracy group Occupy Central is threatening to shut down the financial hub's Central district, in order to push for universal suffrage.

Five business chambers in Hong Kong have taken up high-profile advertisements on the city's trains and buses.

The one-minute video warns Hong Kongers about how their lives will be affected if Central is occupied with issues such as more time spent travelling to Central, and questioning whether they will get paid if they cannot get to work.

The advertisement refers to the Occupy Central movement, which plans to lay siege to the Central district with 10,000 people participating in an illegal sit-in protest.

YK Pang, chairman of Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, said: "Hong Kong is a very small place. If you start occupying certain streets and causing big disruptions to people's ability to get to work, or go about their normal business, then what will happen is that business activities and normal social activities will be interrupted.

"And that is the damage we're talking about and the damage we do not need. I think we need to be united, need to ensure we remain competitive as a community and a society."

But Occupy Central also has its business district supporters.

Edward Chin, leader of a group of banking and finance workers, argued that most people do not have a clear understanding of what the movement is all about.

Edward Chin, managing director of MDE Walters Capital, said: "These different business groups, they do have a lot of self-interest in doing business in mainland China. And they have to say that the OC is really bad for Hong Kong.

"Some people say 'Hey, if OC does happen, the market cap of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will be down by X percent. These are bogus claims."

Meanwhile, another group opposing Occupy Central - called the Alliance for Peace and Democracy - said it has gathered more than 930,000 signatures. That is 150,000 more than the participants who voted in an unofficial referendum last month, calling for the public to be able to nominate their own chief executive candidates.

Beijing has pledged that in 2017, Hong Kongers will be able to elect their leader, but insists candidates must be vetted by a Beijing-friendly nominating committee.

Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung has also endorsed the signature campaign, saying that he will be adding his name to the movement. Mr Leung added that occupying the streets of Central is not the right way for the pan-democrats to get the political reforms that they want.

The National People's Congress, China's legislative body, is set to review at the end of August the electoral reform proposal for Hong Kong submitted by the government. 

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