Hong Kong’s Democratic Party expects to be US$1.3M in the red due to legal fees

Published (HKT): 2021.04.07 06:30

A major pro-democracy party in Hong Kong is projecting a record deficit of nearly HK$10 million (US$1.3 million) as a number of its members face prosecution in politically charged court cases.

The Democratic Party is in dire financial straits, according to Ramon Yuen, chair of its fundraising committee. It has sold off a property in Lai Chi Kok to bolster cash reserves, but the legal costs are mounting.

Four party members — Lam Cheuk-ting, Andrew Wan, Helena Wong and former party leader Wu Chi-wai — have been charged with subversion under national security laws, an offense which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Regular financial support from the party’s lawmakers dried up after all seven resigned last year and could no longer contribute their salaries as public servants. The coronavirus pandemic has also prevented the party from holding its annual fundraising banquet.

All things considered, Yuen estimated a deficit of HK$10 million in the coming year.

The party on Tuesday announced that it would conduct a raffle fundraiser with the goal of collecting HK$4 million. Yuen said he was confident of reaching the target by the time the event ended on June 1.

The government’s Home Affairs Bureau had granted permission for the party to set up street booths to sell raffle tickets, Yuen said, adding that there should be no legal problems related to the campaign.

Two online donation channels are also in operation, through PayPal and HSBC PayMe. Donor information would be stored only on the respective payment platforms, and the party would be able to contact donors only via the platforms, party member Sin Cheuk-nam added.

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