Cathay Pacific Airways (國泰航空) chief executive officer Rupert Hogg (何杲) quit yesterday, the highest-profile corporate casualty of unrest roiling Hong Kong, after Beijing targeted the airline over staff involvement in mass protests.
Hogg, 57, resigned to “take responsibility” as a company leader following recent events, Hong Kong’s flag carrier said.
The board appointed Augustus Tang (鄧健榮), 60, as Cathay’s new CEO, it said in a statement.
Photo: EPA-EFE/South China Morning Post
The corporate upheaval comes ahead of a weekend when further protests are planned, including what could be a large gathering tomorrow that could test whether a movement that has enjoyed broad support can retain it, even as violence escalates.
Demonstrators have said they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement that enshrined some autonomy for Hong Kong since China took it back from Britain in 1997.
Police have granted permission for a rally called “Stand with Hong Kong, Power to the People” planned in the central business district tonight, but they have banned other protests planned for the weekend.
A rally planned for tomorrow by the Civil Human Rights Front, which organized million-strong marches in June, has been given permission to hold an assembly in Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island, but not a march, due to safety concerns.
Another march planned in Kowloon’s Hung Hom neighbourhood today has also been banned.
Chinese paramilitary troops have been training this week in Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, in a clear warning to the protesters, but Hong Kong police yesterday said that they are capable of maintaining law and order on their own.
Meanwhile, celebrated “French Spider-Man” Alain Robert scaled the side of an iconic Hong Kong skyscraper yesterday to unfurl a banner calling for peace between Hong Kong and China.
Decked out in colorful climbing gear, Robert climbed up Cheung Kong Center in downtown Hong Kong — the nerve center of billionaire Li Ka-Shing’s (李嘉誠) business empire — to hang a large flag on the building’s exterior.
The banner depicted juxtaposed flags of Hong Kong and China atop a symbolic handshake, a seeming plea for peace.
Robert, known for scaling iconic skyscrapers across the world without ropes or protection, was detained after making his way to the top of the Hong Kong landmark.
“He’s laughing and smiling and he just wants to be released,” John Pickavant, Robert’s lawyer, told reporters.
Building security officials kept Robert for more than 30 minutes before he was “whisked away” to a police station, Pickavant said.
“He saw what was going on and he was very deeply upset and I think he wanted everyone just to put their hands together,” Pickavant added. “He just wanted peace for everyone.”
The ad hoc action coincided with a series of front-page ads that Li, known locally as “Superman” for his business and investment acumen, took out in local newspapers.
“Love freedom, love tolerance, love the rule of law,” he said in the advertisements, signing them as “a Hong Kong citizen.”
“Love China, love Hong Kong, love yourself. The best cause can lead to the worst result. Stop anger in the name of love,” he said.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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