Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Tiananmen Square vigil activist in Hong Kong has conviction for incitement quashed

Tiananmen Square vigil activist in Hong Kong has conviction for incitement quashed

Judge rules in favour of Chow Hang-tung on grounds police had failed to consider suggestions on how event could be held safely.

Hong Kong police failed to justify their ban on last year’s candlelight vigil to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, a judge ruled as she quashed an incitement conviction for a former vice-chairwoman of the group behind the annual event.

The High Court on Wednesday found in favour of Chow Hang-tung after it said the police had not given serious consideration to the organisers’ suggestions on how the gathering on June 4 could be held safely as the city was in the grip of Covid-19 restrictions.

“Apart from banning the assembly, I am of the view that the evidence did not show the police had discharged their positive duty … and considered adopting practicable measures to allow and facilitate the assembly,” Madam Justice Judianna Barnes said in her written judgment.

“The prosecution failed to establish the legality of the prohibition order,” she ruled. “I find the appellant’s challenge successful.”


The High Court in Admiralty.

But Chow, a 37-year-old barrister and activist, is not yet in the clear because prosecutors indicated they wanted to lodge an appeal with the city’s top court, the Court of Final Appeal.

Barnes agreed her ruling involved findings of “great and general importance” – the test for a further appeal – but said the prosecution would need to first categorise the legal disputes before the lower court gave the go-ahead.

Chow is detained in the maximum-security Tai Lam Prison under the Beijing-imposed national security law on charges of inciting subversion in connection with her role as vice-chairwoman of the now-disbanded Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China.

She is also undergoing a trial in front of a magistrate on a charge of failure to assist in a national security investigation.

The alliance had held a candlelight vigil in Causeway Bay’s Victoria Park since 1990 to commemorate the military crackdown in Beijing a year earlier.

Police first prohibited the event in 2020 on public health grounds related to the Covid-19 crisis. Last year’s vigil was banned on similar grounds.

A District Court judge last December jailed Chow for a year for inciting and knowingly taking part in the 2020 vigil, held despite the ban.

A magistrate a month later sentenced Chow to 15 months in jail for encouraging others to join the 2021 event, before she handed down a total sentence of 22 months.

The latest conviction stemmed from Chow’s remarks in two commentaries published on social media and in a city newspaper, where she pledged to honour the “tradition” and appealed to the public to assemble in “the same place” to mourn those who died during the crackdown in Beijing.

Barnes on Wednesday endorsed the lower court’s decision in that case, but found the magistrate was wrong to refuse to examine Chow’s challenge to the legality of the police ban.

“If the prohibition order was not lawfully issued, the appellant would not break the law, even though she had called on others to assemble in Victoria Park,” Barnes said.
Chow Hang-tung called on people in 2021 to assemble at Victoria Park to mark the Tiananmen Square crackdown.


She added the authorities were obliged to allow and assist public assemblies as far as was practicable.

The police had argued the vigil could expose the public to risks of contracting Covid-19, but Barnes said the force had made no suggestions on how the alliance could tackle public health concerns, despite the organisers’ promise to obey any reasonable instructions.

Barnes also highlighted the advice given by the Department of Health at the time, which only opposed large meetings where people might remove their masks.

She added an independent appeal panel had also failed to substantiate its decision to uphold the police’s decision.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
×