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1. 法政匯思對於 2016 年旺角暴動案中三名被告就其角色而被判處的刑期十分關注。三名被告分別被判處三年半至七年等長期的監禁。
2. 法政匯思不認同使用暴力的行為。然而，我們亦對政府狹隘的說法感到失望。政府僅僅將事件視作一宗刑事案件，而漠視背後引發衝突的一連串政治問題 — 包括自由空間日益收窄、落實民主無期、政府嘗試淡化本土文化與身份認同的重要性以便利中港融合、貧富差距擴大等等。政府對市民以和平的方式爭取民主發展執意拒絕，製造了一個令人氣餒的社會環境，以致部分市民不幸地尋求暴力方式的抗爭。
3. 在 1967 年左派暴動完結後，港英殖民政府暗地裡就其高壓管治模式承認錯誤，然後採取措施處理當時的深層次社會問題。我們深信當下的政府亦應負相同的責任，理解及解決上述那些燃點旺角衝突的根源問題。過分簡單地將事件演繹為「法律與秩序」 的議題只會增添社會上的不滿和躁動。
2018 年 6 月 15 日
Statement of the Progressive Lawyers Group in relation to the Mong Kok Riot Sentencing
1. The Progressive Lawyers Group (“PLG”) is deeply concerned by the recent conviction of three activists for their role in the 2016 Mong Kok riot. They were sentenced to lengthy periods of imprisonment, ranging from 3.5 to 7 years.
2. The PLG agrees that violence should not be condoned. However, at the same time, we are disappointed by the Hong Kong Government’s blinkered approach, which treated the incident solely as a criminal act and completely ignored the political issues which caused such a protest to erupt – including the declining level of freedom; the lack of genuine democracy; the Government’s attempt to de-emphasise local culture and identity in favour of integration with the Mainland; and the widening income inequality amongst Hong Kong citizens. The Government’s stubborn rejection of peaceful demands for democratic development created a frustrating environment in which some citizens unfortunately resorted to violent protest.
3. In the aftermath of the 1967 leftist riots, the British colonial Government quietly accepted the errors of its oppressive policies and took steps to address the root causes of the social problems at that time. We believe that it is now similarly incumbent upon the present Hong Kong Government to act responsibly; and to make genuine efforts to understand and resolve the profound social issues which eventually led to the Mong Kok riot. An over-simplistic portrayal of the event as a ‘law-and-order’ issue will only lead to growing frustration, discontent, and unrest among Hong Kong citizens.
4. In addition, there is an urgent need for the Hong Kong Government to review the relevant section of the Public Order Ordinance on rioting, which was the section under which the Mong Kok activists were convicted. The section provides that any unlawful assembly will amount to a riot if anyone taking part in it commits a “breach of the peace”; and that anyone taking part in such a riot will be liable to a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment. The PLG notes that the current definition of “breach of the peace” is a very low threshold which is not commensurate with the heavy penalty it imposes. A disproportionate criminal provision on public assembly could well have a chilling effect amongst members of the public.
5. The United Nations Human Rights Committee and other international observers have repeatedly raised concerns that this colonial-era legislation could be used to restrict human rights (e.g. the freedom to expression and the freedom to assembly). The PLG echoes those concerns and calls for the Public Order Ordinance to be reformed so that it can sufficiently safeguard citizens’ human rights as protected by the Basic Law and would not become a tool of political suppression.
Progressive Lawyers Group
15th June 2018