See More on Facebook

Politics

Hundreds of Hong Kong lawyers join silent march to demand inquiry into protests

China has labeled this the most challenging circumstance that Hong Kong has faced since the handover.


Written by

Updated: August 8, 2019

For the second time since anti-extradition protests escalated in June, thousands of lawyers joined a silent march to demand an independent inquiry into the unrest that has roiled Hong Kong, sparked by the highly controversial extradition Bill.

Dressed in black, more than 3,000 lawyers on Wednesday (Aug 7) marched from the Court of Final Appeal to Justice Place shortly before 1pm, making this the sixth and largest silent protest of its kind staged by the legal community since Hong Kong was handed back to China by Britain in 1997.

On June 6, nearly 3,000 lawyers joined a silent march to urge the government to immediately withdraw the contentious Bill, which would have allowed Hong Kong to hand over fugitives to various jurisdictions, such as Taiwan and, more importantly, mainland China, where they said suspects face unfair trials due to the opaque system.

On Wednesday, former Bar Association chairman Alan Leong urged authorities to act to save Hong Kong.

“Because our system is deteriorating at a speed that is totally unacceptable. Unless we do something to regain the trust and confidence of not only Hong Kong, but also of the international community, in the Hong Kong legal system, we are doomed,” he said.

The lawyers also said they fear that the justice department’s prosecutions of arrested protesters are taking an increasingly political slant after 44 protesters were charged with rioting, an offence that carries a 10-year jail term.

Last week, a group of anonymous government prosecutors published an open letter alleging Secretary of Justice Teresa Cheng of putting politics above legal principles.

Ms Audrey Eu, a senior counsel and a co-founder of the Civic Party, told the crowd on Wednesday that Ms Cheng’s decision to charge the 44 protesters with rioting indicates selective prosecution.

“If she is fast-tracking the charge of rioting, you would expect her to have fast-tracked also the charges of these attacks in Yuen Long on July 21. The very fact that she failed to do so cannot give you any other conclusion than that there is bias and there is political motive,” said Ms Eu.

On July 21, while a group of radical protesters battled with police in the streets of Sheung Wan, a group of armed white-clad men indiscriminately beat up passengers dressed in black and other coloured tops, at Yuen Long MTR station.

Many protesters and some citizens have been outraged at the delayed response by the police to calls for help that night.

In response, the Justice Department said prosecutorial decisions are professional and fair, based on evidence gathered and void of political considerations as some alleged.

On Wednesday morning, pro-establishment lawmaker Michael Tien told local broadcaster RTHK that he would press Beijing officials to tell Chief Executive Carrie Lam to fully withdraw the Bill and order an independent inquiry into the affair – the two most important demands of the protesters.

“(The protesters) agreed with me that if the government accedes to these requests, at least half of the supporters (of the protest) at the back would have gotten what they want and disappeared,” Mr Tien said, referring to his conversation with protesters who surrounded Tsuen Wan police headquarters on Monday.

He noted that many have protested as they felt their voices were not heard.

Mr Tien is part of the Hong Kong delegation to a seminar in Shenzhen attended by members of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference on Wednesday.

Separately, the Eastern Court heard that five people, aged between 22 and 32, face criminal charges for allegedly damaging traffic lights in Tsuen Wan during a protest in the early hours of Monday, ahead of calls for a citywide strike.

Of the five, two are also accused of failing to provide the police with identification documents.

Three of the five appeared in court on Wednesday morning, RTHK reported, adding that no pleas were taken. The accused were released on bail of HK$1,000 (S$177) and given curfews. Their cases have been adjourned till Oct 2.

The lawyers’ march on Wednesday marks the sixth straight day of protests this month alone.

Hong Kong has been plagued with unrest in the last two months as anti-extradition protesters turn increasingly confrontational in their tactics, leading to riot police firing rounds of tear gas on multiple occasions.

On Tuesday night, a group of protesters lay siege to Sham Shui Po police station following the arrest of a student leader.

The police then fired rounds of tear-gas from inside the station at the crowd of hundreds.

Baptist University University Student Union president Keith Fong was detained on suspicion of carrying offensive weapons, after plainclothed police said they found 10 laser pointers in his bag.

The police on Wednesday said they arrested nine people on Tuesday night.

So far, 589 people have been arrested for offences including taking part in a riot, unlawful assembly, assaulting officers, and possession of offensive weapons.

Meanwhile, calls on Telegram chat are asking people to bring their laser pointers to go star gazing outside the Space Museum at 8pm on Wednesday.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

‘History will take note of those who ridiculed removal of Article 370’: PM Modi in Maharashtra

PM Modi also expressed confidence that the BJP will break all victory records in the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections. Prime Minister on Thursday once again lashed out at the opposition saying that history will take note of those who mocked the abrogation of Article 370, that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “Whenever Article 370 will be discussed in history, — the decision that was taken in the interest of the country — the people who opposed and ridiculed will be remembered,” PM Modi said while addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra’s Parli. He said the next week’s state Assembly elections were a battle between BJP’s “karyashakti” (power of development) and opposition’s “swarth shakti” (selfishness). Further targeting the Congress and NCP leaders, he wondered if “frustrated and dejected” people could do anything good for people. “A Congress


By The Statesman
October 18, 2019

Politics

S. Korean, ASEAN officials look ahead to special summit and stronger regional ties

Korea has increasingly look to Southeast Asia as an export destination and regional partners. Ahead of the highly anticipated summit in Busan next month between the leaders of South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, top officials from participating countries gathered in the southern port city Wednesday and voiced high expectations for the future of the relationship between South Korea and the ASEAN nations. South Korean Ambassador to ASEAN Lim Sung-nam, ASEAN-Korea Center Secretary-General Lee Hyuk, Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don and Myanmar Ambassador to South Korea U Thant Sin said they looked forward to the upcoming summit, calling it a steppingstone to stronger South Korea-ASEAN ties and to economic prosperity and peace on the Korean Peninsula. “In the past 30 years, the relationship between South Korea and ASEAN has grown to an astonishing degree. Trade volume rose 20-fold and human e


By The Korea Herald
October 18, 2019

Politics

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam unveils measures to ease housing crunch

Lam was forced to deliver speech via video after protests. Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced measures aimed at easing a housing shortage on Wednesday (Oct 16) as she battles to restore confidence in her administration and address widespread discontent after four months of mostly violent anti-government protests. Mrs Lam was forced to deliver her speech via video after her annual policy address in the Legislative Council was aborted when some lawmakers repeatedly jeered and shouted at her as she began speaking. After aborting her speech in the chamber tw


By The Straits Times
October 17, 2019

Politics

Personal exchanges cement Sino-US ties, envoy says

Nicholas Platt accompanied US President Richard Nixon on his historic Beijing trip. Over the past four decades the China-US relationship has become too complicated to decouple, and many on both sides are determined to sustain it, a US diplomat and China expert told China Daily in a recent interview. Using an iceberg as an analogy, Nicholas Platt, who accompanied US president Richard Nixon on his historic trip to Beijing in 1972, said in an exclusive interview on Oct 3 that private, nonstate links between China and the United States have grown exponentially in past decades. They are kept intact below the surface despite the “jagged piece of ice” and “sharp edges” seen above the waterline. “There may be people who want to decouple us, but there are a lot of people who don’t, or people who’ve had relationships between” the two countries-organizations,


By China Daily
October 16, 2019

Politics

Xi, Modi chart course ahead for new era

Informal meeting in India designed to build mutual trust between neighbors.  China and India can create an even closer partnership in the new era, as the countries’ leaders have reset relations through an informal meeting over the weekend in the coastal city of Chennai in southern India, officials and experts said. President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in-depth discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues of “overall, long-term and strategic” importance in their second informal meeting, Vice-Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui told reporters after the meeting. Xi called for building up strategic mutual trust between the two neighboring countries and defusing their differences through communication. He said the only correct choice is for the “Chinese dragon” and “Indian elephant” to dance together in ways that


By China Daily
October 15, 2019

Politics

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters throng Hong Kong’s Chater Garden

The protests have escalated in violence and crackdowns in recent months. Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters gathered at Hong Kong’s Chater Garden in Central district near government headquarters on Monday evening (Oct 14) for the first approved rally since a face mask ban came into effect on Oct 5. The rally, which came a day after an improvised explosive device was detonated during unrest,  was called in support of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, a proposed US legislation aimed at reviewing the territory’s special trading status and potentially sanctioning some Chinese officials. Protesters urged


By The Straits Times
October 15, 2019