June 4 Museum closed amid licensing probe - RTHK
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June 4 Museum closed amid licensing probe

2021-06-02 HKT 10:21
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  • June 4 Museum closed amid licensing probe
Violet Wong reports
The operators of the June 4 Museum closed its doors on Wednesday, hours after officials from the Food and Environmental Hygiene department accused it of operating as a place of public entertainment without the required licences.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China said in a statement that it decided to close the museum until further notice so it could seek legal advice and protect the safety of staff members and visitors.

It thanked the 550 people who had visited the museum since it reopened on Sunday.

The alliance's secretary, Richard Tsoi, told reporters it was unlikely that the museum would be able to reopen in time for Friday's anniversary.

He said people can commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown by themselves in a safe and peaceful manner.

"We still hope every citizen in Hong Kong can use their own way to commemorate June 4. We certainly think [if] we can maintain our strength at this particular critical moment, in the future we can definitely continue our struggle," Tsoi said.

He also called on authorities to clarify what actions constitute a breach of the laws in Hong Kong, after Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that a slogan calling for an end to one-party rule may, or may not violate the national security law.

"How to interpret and enforce the law, including the national security law, the public order [ordinance] or related laws, is now getting more unpredictable."

Earlier, the alliance was also forced to scrap plans for its annual vigil in Victoria Park on Friday after an appeals board upheld a police decision to ban the memorial.

An elderly man who attempted to visit the museum on Wednesday morning said the latest developments were "regrettable".

“Every year I go to Victoria Park to attend the June 4th vigil. But I can’t this year. So I thought I would visit the museum today to remember the event as I had time. But again I can’t, it's very regrettable. June 4 is big incident to Chinese people. I will never forget it. I hope the movement will be vindicated,” the man who gave his surname as Ng, said.

The FEHD said on Tuesday that it was doing enforcement work after looking into recent complaints.

It said according to the law, no one can keep or use any place of public entertainment without a licence.

Convicted offenders face a fine of up to HK$25,000 and imprisonment for six months, and a further fine of HK$2,000 for every day during which the offence continues.

The permanent museum was first opened to the public in 2014, but shut down in 2016 after a legal dispute over the fact it was located in a building designated for office use.

The alliance made plans to reopen the museum in Mong Kok in 2019. Despite being vandalised ahead of its reopening, it has been holding exhibitions on different themes related to pro-democracy movements on the mainland and in Hong Kong.
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Last updated: 2021-06-02 HKT 14:45