HKTV to File Judicial Review to Challenge Government’s Rejection of License

By on October 22, 2013 in Hot Gossip!, NEWS

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In a press conference held on October 22, HKTV’s Chairman Ricky Wong (王維基) announced that he plans to file for judicial review to challenge the Hong Kong government’s rejection in issuing a free broadcasting license to HKTV last week. Wong claimed that the government had violated procedural justice, as HKTV was rejected although it was not the weakest applicant.

To allow more competition in the television market, Hong Kong’s Broadcasting Authority welcomed applicants to apply for free-to-air TV licenses in 2010. The authority also suggested at the time that three new licenses would be issued. Last week, commerce secretary Gregory So (蘇錦樑) announced on behalf of the Executive Council that i-Cable’s Fantastic TV and PCCW’s Hong Kong Television Entertainment were granted the free licenses, but HKTV’s license was rejected for arbitrary and questionable reasons.

Almost 120,000 people turned up at a rally led by the HKTV staff organizers on October 20. The demonstrators marched to the podium of the Central Government Complex at Tamar, demanding the government to provide a concrete explanation as to why HKTV’s license was not granted. Aside from HKTV’s own artists and production personnel, pro-democrats and non-affiliated HKTV artists – including a few TVB artists – also joined in the protest. The rally was no longer just a protest to support HKTV, but a social movement to fight for procedural justice, transparency in government decisions, and democracy in Hong Kong.

Demands for Detailed Explanation of Rejection of HKTV’s License

Protesters argued that the Executive Council failed to give a thorough explanation and demanded the government to step out with official documents detailing the rationale behind HKTV’s rejection. Chief Executive CY Leung (梁振英), insisted that politics were not considered in HKTV’s elimination.

Before boarding a flight to Beijing today, Leung spoke with the press and stressed once again that the ExCo followed a comprehensive route in determining the licenses. He also implied that HKTV’s business proposal was too aggressive and lacked sustainability in the market.

Leung then stated that the ExCo has to keep its reasoning behind the license evaluations confidential. He welcomed Wong to file a judicial review and said the government would submit its evidence in High Court when the time comes.

Interestingly, despite the government’s claim on confidentiality, the Legislative Council sided with the protesters and urged the ExCo to provide a better explanation. The LegCo said the government should take the public’s response into account, and though the ExCo has an official policy on confidentiality, the ExCo should be able to give out more details to the public. Some former ExCo members even put the blame on Leung, expressing that it is the Chief Executive that makes the final decision. The council only serves as advisers.

HKTV Was Not Weakest Contender

A document about the TV license evaluations was leaked last week, which revealed that HKTV was actually ranked second in terms of government official support and competitiveness. It was reported that a majority of the government officials wanted to issue three licenses, but the ExCo overruled their decision.

At HKTV’s press conference today, Wong reaffirmed that HKTV was not ranked last in its evaluation report despite what the ExCo suggested. He added he is not with any political affiliation, and mentioned that CY Leung’s explanation in regards to HKTV’s rejection was neither comprehensive nor adequate. Leung’s response only further fueled the public’s anger. Wong said he will submit a judicial review in two to three weeks, and believes that HKTV has a strong case that the government had violated procedural justice.

“There have been changes to the game rules. They cannot be changed to favor an individual, the Executive Council, or the three license applicants. There are legal processes in place that Hong Kong has followed for decades. It is not based on one person’s whim to decide the outcome,” Wong said.

The public theorized that Beijing politics may have been the real player behind ExCo’s decision. ATV, known for its pro-Beijing operations, has been financially struggling for the past few decades, yet the government did not revoke their free-to-air license. HKTV’s controversial take on certain subjects may have crossed mainland boundaries.

Protests Continue in Hong Kong

About 30 HKTV personnel camped out in front of the governmental building on October 22, the organizer’s third day in the protest. They stated that they would continue to stay at the podium overnight until the government formally releases their explanation. The organizers estimated that an additional 5,000 people will be involved in future rallies.

Director Johnnie To (杜琪峯) attended today’s protest and offered his encouragement to the television industry and the Hong Kong public. He added that he was not there to support Ricky Wong or HKTV.

The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union has released a statement to support HKTV’s social movement. They declared that the government’s hesitance in releasing its official evaluation documents has violated the clause of freedom. Its rejection could throttle Hong Kong’s future opportunities in reforming its creative industry, and also limits the freedom for Hong Kong youths to pursue a career in media.

Source: On.cc; On.cc; On.cc; On.cc; The Standard

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

63 comments to HKTV to File Judicial Review to Challenge Government’s Rejection of License

  1. sounds good says:

    sounds good regardless if they get it or not hope they release them dramas somehow!

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  2. Jack says:

    Don’t back down without a fight!

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    • captain Phillips replied:

      I agree.hope da Hong Kong people will not give up fighting. Add oil!

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  3. James says:

    ALL HK people and others who believe in transparency and the rule of the LAW should protest. Don’t be at the mercy of the BEIjing government!!!

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    • elisabella replied:

      Yes. You are right. I love your comment.

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    • jinx replied:

      A+++

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    • kennyc replied:

      This is a local issue that has little to do with Beijing. The decision is made in accordance to the HK governing rules. There will winner and loser in this contest for allocation.

      Some HK folks really need to get real. You people are fed with too much anti-China diatribe from your local and Western media, and becomes like the proverbial frog in the well. HK is almost totally dependant on mainland, for where do you think most of your water and electricity comes from. Without Chinese tourist and investments, HK will become a third world country overnight. Don’t bite the hand that feed you.

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      • Littlegalpal replied:

        I think HK was more than ok under the British and recent mass influx of mainland visitors is not really welcome by the HK people.

        HKTV ruling have everything to do with politic, if you read the article many of the protesters protest because the lack of transparency and secretcy in the decision which is very much like how the Chinese/China government operate.

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      • kennyc replied:

        How is HK more than OK under British? Is it because HK was better being ruled by senior British servants instead of local politicians? Perhaps some people yearn to be ruled by white man again, and even the white man farts smells better it appears.

        Influx of Chinese tourists or even any tourists can be good an bad. If HK does not want more China tourists, I’m sure there are other places where they can go. The tourist dollars will go elsewhere, and will HK be better off with that, given that we all know that HK people highly materialistic.

        I know many of us can’t stand the sight of the noisy or ill mannered nouveau-riche tourist from mainland, but don’t forget that many HKers. Taiwanese and Singaporeans were behaving like them just 20 years ago.

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      • kolo replied:

        i dont mind if hk is ruled by the british again,at least we are happier under the british rules.less housing problems,less inflation,less mainlanders problems,better economic grow,more transparancy,more press freedom,less communistic influence,yes the hk before ’97 was better,but i cant deny that china was important in the recovery process after the economic crisis.

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      • HeShouWu replied:

        People who said HK was better under British rule must have very short memories. There were immigrants, housing problems, inflation, and social disorder under the British. HKers just accepted their fate that they have no say in the process, so life seem more simple back then.

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      • hkppl replied:

        but the fact is if you ask 10 ppl in hk, 9 out of 10 ppl will say that they wanted that hk to remain as a british colony.

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      • richardkcc replied:

        You are right some HK people behave like they are having pea-brained. I remember one of their politician made this remark The Chinese people cannot be trusted. For your information even though you may call yourself Hongkongers you are still Chinese.

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      • Brian replied:

        @HeShouWu

        Generally, I don’t like to comment on these things but the bull you spew is too much to bear. Firstly, the immigrant problem in Hong Kong under the British was firstly the result of the Chinese Civil War and then it was the Cultural Revolution. Secondly the housing problems were attributed to the above and were alleviated by the British through public housing which was then copied by places like Singapore. Thirdly the social disorder you spoke that occurred in the 60s were instigated by China. Now if you were to speak of the corruption in Hong Kong, that can be attributed to the British but in the end they solved it, which can’t be said to be stance China is taking (i.e. systemic changes rather than slogans). Hong Kong now, has a government that’s inept and at the end of the day unable to formulate long term policies for the sake of the people, but I don’t think you would understand what that means since you obviously see things with such tainted glasses.

        BTW Singapore functions well and retains their identity despite having to buy water and import food from Malaysia.

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      • HeShouWu replied:

        @Brian
        You have to look at both sides of the coin. Without the influx of cheap Chinese labor after World War 2, HK would never have had the economic miracle that made it one of the 4 Asian Tigers at that time. You really think the British government gives a crap if there were not people complaining about the problems the past 150 years? No way would reforms come from just the kindness of the Colonial master’s heart. When did democracy finally happen in HK? Yes, when the Brits knew they had to give it up. Hong Kong’s is tethered and tied to China no matter who they call master. It’s the fact of geography and history. From the beginning to the far future, this relationship will bring both benefits and disadvantages to the city. This is a very young democracy. It will take time to sort things out. People speaking out is a good thing.

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      • kolo replied:

        @HeShouWu,if the british didnt took hongkong as a colony 100 years ago,then hongkong would still have remained as a little communistic ruled harbour village till today where nobody would knows.they are actually the founding father of modern hongkong. hk ppl should be thankful to the british that we are living in an free advanged society now, and as one of the greatest metropoles of the world.show some respect pls.

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  4. smiley says:

    this is a battle of democracy

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  5. elisabella says:

    HK citizens, please stand up! and fight for your own rights. Don’t let anyone oppress your people. Best wish for all.

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    • Mockinggenius replied:

      This is so hilarious, oppression?? Do you live in HK, ever visited the place or just fill your brains with bits and pieces from the Internet? Life is HK is fine, protest 24/7 if anybody wants to, low unemployment, reasonable income for majority of people, low income tax, great health system which takes care of those who can’t afford private care and its a safe city. Come for a visit of you can afford it.

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      • Carat replied:

        It’s not oppression now. But if nothing is done now, can we guarantee a similar environment for our future generations?

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    • Terminator replied:

      I find it amusing that most equate this issue as a violation of the right to choose.

      So, if one had gone into a restaurant, noticing the menu has changed and selections become more limited, one should then protest and sue the restaurant for human right violation. Right?

      People have forgotten that free TV entertainment is a privilege and not a right. The government has not mandated that everyone in HK must watch TV and offered TVB as the only choice.

      However, education is mandated for all children in HK; and therefore, parents should have a voice over the choice of curricular matters.

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      • AL replied:

        agree

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      • Carat replied:

        The issue is not a violation of the right to choose. It’s about the state of governance.

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      • Terminator replied:

        If this is all about governance, then certainly they have picked the oddest issue as the lightning rod that reflects a myriad of self-serving interests (RW’s, TV industry workers, and free TV watching public.

        Meaningful change in governance can only be achieved through free and fair elections and the passage of constructive legislations, not from conflicts in isolated incidents/issues.

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      • Carat replied:

        Good governance is also about accountability and transparency.

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      • llwy12 replied:

        I disagree that the issue doesn’t have anything to do with freedom of choice. Some people equate this free TV license issue to freedom of choice because of 2 primary reasons: first, when the government announced their decision to only issue 2 licenses and reject HKTV, they outright stated that they made the decision in the best interests of the people of HK (I would have to go back and dig up the exact wording, but it was something along the lines of claiming to have taken public interest and opinion into consideration) — so in other words, the government is claiming that the decision they made is what the people of HK want as well. But what HK citizens are trying to tell the government is that the choice they made does not reflect what majority of the public want – that’s part of the reason why so many ordinary citizens were angry at the decision and felt that their right to choose was taken away.

        Second, one important step of the licensing process is public consultation — after each bidder submits their application, the next step is for the government to conduct a Public Consultation period in which comments and opinions from the general public are gathered, then the Communications Authority does their assessment after that (based on the public consultation results as well as the 3rd party consultation reports) and gives a recommendation to the Executive Council. If the public’s opinion didn’t matter, then why build a public consultation period into the licensing process itself? By establishing public consultation, they are essentially giving the people of HK a say in what they would like to see…otherwise, the government doesn’t have to do that step – they could have just dictated who they wanted to give licenses to without getting the public involved and that would be the end of it.

        Not sure how closely you’ve followed this issue, but a lot of people in HK have actually expressed that they were ‘surprised’ at the government’s decision because based on the public consultation reports (which are available for viewing on the Communications Authority’s website) as well as all of the consultation meetings they’ve had throughout these past 4 years, the support from the public for HKTV was pretty high. That’s another reason why people are calling for an explanation – because the reasoning doesn’t make much sense when you take all the factors into consideration.

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      • Terminator replied:

        What you have described is just how the HK government through their licensing process might have misled the public on what basis they would use for their consideration. It has nothing to do with “limiting” or expanding personal freedom/ basic human rights that would call for legitimate civil protests.

        If what the majority of the public want is viewed as the most important factor behind the granting of the licenses, then why not abolish all procedures and just call for a referendum for the public to directly vote on whether to grant the licenses, and if so, to whom they should be granted. It would save a lot of money and time.

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      • kolo replied:

        i think if you ask the restaurant holder why the menu has chanced? he will at least gives you an answer,but the point is the hk government dont,if you do an examination and you failed,you expect at least a answer from the teacher why and on what point you have failed,if you have spend 900 millions for doing this exam and you failed,wont you hear the reason why you are sacked? thank god that we still have the right to protest,its just a outlet for our frustrations.

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  6. Bubblez says:

    Mmm interesting..
    They might as well convince Mainland China government as well.

    I do hope that HKTV gets a fair judicial review after this, but as long as Mainland China governemnt or pro-Communist executives is being the “trouble-makers”, HKTV won’t get its license..

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  7. kolo says:

    since c.y. leung is the only one person who have the right to decide and the exco members are only advisors,no matter how strong the evidence from ricky´s side is,there is no chance that ricky wong can winn this battle in the court. it only shows how lame c.y. leung is,and make him the most hatred leader of hk govrnment in the hk history.

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    • llwy12 replied:

      The other controversy brewing as well is that one of the ExCo members involved in the decision has ties to ATV (her husband is from the Cha family, which still partially owns ATV and he personally still has shares in the company). Because of this, lawmakers say that there was a ‘conflict of interest’ and the ExCo member should have withdrawn herself from the license discussion. When LegCo demanded to know whether Mrs Cha withdrew herself from the discussion, ExCo refused to answer, citing those stupid confidentiality rules again (with that type of answer, it’s obvious to me then that she did participate and may have contributed to this mess, since ATV was cited in the consultants reports as being the ‘weakest’ station and the one most likely to go out of business if 5 licenses were issued.)

      This issue is definitely turning out to be a disaster of epic proportions. Some experts are even saying that the fallout from this issue will impact CY Leung’s governance more than the national education issue because so many lawmakers are distancing themselves from the issue and placing all the blame as well as responsibility for the decision on him.

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      • Panzer replied:

        This is like watching a slow motion train wreck and every few minutes a new mangled body flies out of the wreckage. You can’t stop it, you cant look away, and its hard to watch it happening.
        I hope to god that the vote from that lady (I use the term loosely) can be thrown out because that is so unbelievably corrupt.
        The only good news from all this bad news is that it’s all compounding into something that can’t be ignored or explained without ending or crushing the careers of a few corrupt politicians.

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      • lingling replied:

        @llwy12,

        thanks for all the information you provided. I find them very educational… :))

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  8. bbfanny says:

    Long live democracy! So happy to see hundreds thousands support HKTV! CY Leung in deep water now for denying HKTV the license and surpress freedom of creative talents in HK!

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    • kennyc replied:

      Mob justice is no democracy. This is just demo-crazy. Look at Eqypt and where it is heading!
      What Ricky Wong is doing by filing judicial review is the right thing to do. In case some of you have forgotten, there is a rule of law in HK.

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      • bizzybody replied:

        Agree with you kennyc.
        But I still applaud those protesters for turning up and making their voices heard.

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  9. Nicole says:

    I really like what Chow Yuk Ming wrote on his weibo about the whole debacle. He attended the protest, but is not afraid to criticise Mr Ricky Wong.
    http://www.weibo.com/u/1986293424

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    • llwy12 replied:

      Yup…agreed. Not only did Chow Yuk Ming attend the protest, he also served as guest speaker for yesterday’s event in front of government headquarters.

      Based on what he has expressed via Weibo and elsewhere, Chow Yuk Ming doesn’t support Ricky Wong, but he does support the creativity movement — plus he’s never been shy about criticizing the government and sharing his political views on Weibo.

      The other former TVB behind-the-scenes talent who has been actively posting on Weibo about this issue is producer Gary Tang….he shares similar sentiments as many of the others — he’s not an advocate for Ricky Wong or HKTV, but supports transparency in government and wants them to show some accountability for their actions.

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  10. milktea says:

    Just wonder, what has HKTV done to you that make you say that?

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    • Vincent replied:

      @milktea, well HKTV fans say the same thing to TVB and I think it reasonable to say that back to them. By the way, don’t forget that HKTV take most of TVB’s actor and actress to their station.

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  11. Terminator says:

    Legally speaking, this judicial review (not a law suit by the way because no laws were broken apparently (yet?))will go no where as it seems to have predicated on the assumption that the consultants’ report was and should be the primary basis for reaching the licensing decision. And we all know what CY Leung would say to that as his CYA maneuver.

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  12. AL says:

    at the very beginning, I want to have HKTV because most choice on drama serial beside TVB. But now, I kind of upset able all those protests! Well, you think you apply, government has to approve. If the government not approve, then it is the government’s fail. What logic is it? Now I wish HKTV not getting the license!

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    • I LOVE MUSTACHES replied:

      Finally, someone that used to like HKTV is thinking straight. They do not take failure very well.

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    • HeShouWu replied:

      It is the government’s failure is they do not adequately explain why and how the decision was made and on what criteria. This is a democracy. The public airwaves belong to the citizen of HK. The government is just representing the people in regulating it. Now the people are questioning the decision, so the Executive Council must satisfactorily answer to the public.

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  13. elisabella says:

    @Al, The HK government has the right to refuse providing a license for HKTV, but if the refusal is not reasonable, then HKTV also has the right to protest. It is cowardly if you let someone beating you illegally without fighting him back.

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  14. Larry 3 says:

    I been saying all along. There is ZERO CHANCE that HKTV will get the license. Even with the protest that I agree with them, the government will not changed their mind. I won’t be shock if the courts overrule in favor of HKTV and then government appeals the decision and it is all over again. HKTV should be focusing on plan B when ATV and TVB license is up on 2015. I would hope for the mean time, they should be a production company and maybe partnering up with iCable or nowTV. This is the begining to look UGLY.

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    • llwy12 replied:

      Actually, that’s very true. Even if Ricky Wong wins judicial review, that pretty much just means that the process starts all over again — meaning that the situation would be thrown back to the Executive Council and CY Leung and they would have to review everything all over again…..which also means that the decision in the end would be the same, since the same parties would be involved. I’m assuming this is probably the reason why ExCo and CY would not allow for any appeal whatsoever (because appeal process is different and other parties would be involved that could possibly decide differently)…which is why people were pissed at the ‘no appeal’ piece because it can be interpreted as ‘adding salt to the wound’, since the government is essentially ‘closing the door and throwing away the key’ with that clause.

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      • llwy12 replied:

        Oh and to add to the above — for many people, the ‘no appeal’ clause was what triggered the idea that the decision was motivated by political factors and/or the government has something to hide. I mean, think of it from an ordinary citizen’s perspective — you reject someone’s application without giving much explanation as to why and then you also don’t allow the rejected party to seek proper legal means to appeal the decision and possibly overturn it. HK is supposed to be a free, democratic nation (to some extent at least), but by pulling that type of move, the government is giving the public the ‘vibe’ that they are under a dictatorship (at least that’s how many people view it). True or not is another story, but the fact that so many people hold that perception of the government definitely contributed to the huge backlash that ensued…

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  15. TMLim says:

    u r drunk..go home sleep..

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  16. elisabella says:

    @Larry,
    You never know; in Serbia, the whole government is totally overthrow by one millions of protesters.

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    • Larry 3 replied:

      That will be war. But right now, the Hong Kong government is controlled partially by the communist and it needs to be changed.

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    • kolo replied:

      lollol,but hong kong isnt serbia,if hk has 1mil protesters marching,china will immidiately sending their liberation army and the whole military armoury to knock this down.

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      • elisabella replied:

        I don’t think so because China will not dare to send army to oppress 1 million HK citizens.

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      • kolo replied:

        i think that depends on how the protest shall develop,if the protest are going out of control,china surely will take action to prevent a riot at all cost.

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  17. omo says:

    File Judicial Review…

    hahaha, the goverment will take again another 1-2 years to review…

    what a loose?

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  18. AK says:

    at the very beginning, i like to have HKTV because of more drama choices. I don’t own TVB stock, i am not a TVB fans…but now, i am tried of all those protest…and don’t want to have HKTV…it seems like they are force government to give them a free license!

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    • Larry 3 replied:

      because hong kong is a free market society or was it? stupid govt.

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    • Megamiaow replied:

      And damn right the public should force the government to grant the license, because there’s no reason not to, and the government is being corrupt.

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  19. Anon says:

    HK law is retarded. what’s the use of having a judicial review if it will be the same board of members making that same review and decision-making again. They can easily drag this out or reject this again in a heart beat. Either way you look at it, Ricky Wong is gonna lose.

    Ricky Wong should be able to go to the supreme Court of HK and sue the government and have another jurisdiction be able to review and handle this case.

    HK politic is a total totalitarian-state in the making.

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  20. Kidd says:

    Not a big fan of Ricky Wong or his way of doing things. But, I really hope HKTV can get the license for the current staff in the company.

    It’s not just about money. Many disillusioned ex-TVB workers find back their passion and interest in filmmaking when they moved over to HKTV. They were happy working there.

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  21. Trang says:

    Fight all the way, even if you know HK gov’t may not issue the license, at least it will stir up some people involved

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  22. jc says:

    Reading all reports/news and I find that Ricky Wong has a great passion and future plan fot his tv station ; I could say he is the right candidate that the government should approve compared to the other 2 stations which is slow, not active and no idea what are they doing until now.

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    • HeShouWu replied:

      I agree. Remember people. It’s because of Ricky’s trailers the past two years that lit fire to TVB’s behind and cause them to film all these sequels this year. Even they started to beef up their talent by poach all the old ATV veterans that are left. Imagine if HKTV can compete head on with them, we will all see a significant increase in broadcast quality.

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