With the onset of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, fewer people are taking to the streets in Hong Kong – but for prosecuted protesters, the work is just getting started. By the end of January 2020, over 7,000 people had been arrested in connection with the protests, about 1,000 charged, and 20 sentenced. Common charges are criminal damage, possession of an offensive weapon, assaulting the police, obstructing the police, participating in an unlawful assembly, and participating in a riot.
PLG member Alvin Cheung writes: "The independence and relevance of Hong Kong’s judiciary may now be in doubt [...] Interventions from Beijing are likely to dictate outcomes to Hong Kong’s courts not only in cases directly involving political rights, but also cases that involve major policy initiatives such as public infrastructure projects."
As he curled his spindly legs around the metal bars, the sight of the bespectacled teenager with his floppy mop of hair valiantly trying to scale the three-metre-high barrier, along with fellow student leader Alex Chow Yong-kang, galvanised others into action.
Another youth leader, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, then on stage at the demonstration, called on the others to join in the storming of the forecourt that they had dubbed “Civic Square”. They wanted to “reclaim” the space that had been the site of previous protests, they declared.
On August 17, a Hong Kong appeals court sentenced student democracy activists Joshua Wong, Alex Chow, and Nathan Law to six to eight months imprisonment. The three had earlier been convicted of crimes related to unlawful assembly during a demonstration in 2014 when they had crossed a police barrier, but the lower court had sentenced them only to community service and a suspended jail sentence, arguing that their breach had been a form of political expression. But even in Hong Kong, a city which has enjoyed political freedoms absent elsewhere in China, it was the preservation of “public order” the court chose to emphasize. “To disrupt public order and public peace in the name of free exercise of powers,” said court Vice President Wally Yeung Chun-kuen, “will cause our society to descend into chaos.” The new sentence, which the three plan to appeal, also carries a five-year prohibition on running for elected office in Hong Kong. Progressive Lawyers Group member Alvin Y.H. Cheung was interviewed by ChinaFile about the jailed activists.
Human rights lawyer Jonathan Man has stood up for Hong Kong’s recruitment system for judges, amid renewed calls from Chinese legal scholars to exclude “foreign judges” from the judiciary.
District Court Judge David Dufton has been the target of online abuse after he convicted seven policemen of assault on democracy activist Ken Tsang.
Some critics have been posting disparaging messages on social media, calling Dufton a “dog judge” and threatening to surround his house and harm him, Apple Daily reports.
A wave of online attacks against Judge David Dufton of the District Court has taken place following his decision on Tuesday to convict seven police officers of assault against activist Ken Tsang during the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests.
(Quartz) As the Hong Kong government takes to the courts to challenge the right of two pro-independence politicians to swear in as lawmakers in the city’s legislature, many are looking to the judiciary as the last line of defense against Beijing’s growing encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy.
A customs officer has uploaded photo and videos taken inside the Eastern Law Courts Building to his public Facebook profile, in a possible breach of laws.
Paul Fong Fu-pong appears to have taken two of the photographs – one a “selfie” and another of a barrister – inside the courtroom. He has not removed them despite warnings from friends that he may get in trouble for them.
Hong Kong’s judges have frequently found themselves pilloried by political talking heads of late, and the past few weeks have been no exception. Former ICAC Deputy Commissioner Tony Kwok Man-wai called on Internet users to “hunt down” the judge who granted bail to Hong Kong Indigenous leader Ray Wong Toi-yeung and dig up dirt on judges’ “relationships with pan-democratic parties.”
(SCMP) The Progressive Lawyers Group on Monday questioned Yuen's failure to defend the judiciary against what the group saw as "unwarranted attacks on the judiciary".
"We ... call on the secretary for justice, who under common law tradition and convention is tasked with being the ultimate defender of the judiciary, to speak out clearly and forcefully against such outrageous and scurrilous attacks on the judiciary," the group said in a statement.