Judges should expect non-derogatory criticism, says Tsang Yok-sing

Local | 12 Sep 2018 6:13 pm

Former Legislative Council president Tsang Yok-sing says he says no reason why Hong Kong's judges should be immune from criticism, as he waded into a controversy over an attack on the judiciary by a fellow pro-Beijing politician, RTHK reports.

Federation of Trade Unions president Stanley Ng recently described Court of Final Appeal judges who overturned the jail terms given to 13 activists as being "social sinners,'' alleging in a Facebook post that they were "killers of young people.''

Those comments earned a sharp rebuke from Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who said yesterday that it is unacceptable for anyone to insult judges or the local judicial system just because they are not satisfied with a court's decision.

But on a talk show, Tsang defended Ng's right to freedom of speech, saying that public figures such as politicians are constantly subjected to criticism, so judges should expect the same treatment, as long as the cases in question are over.

Tsang added, however, that he disagreed with Ng's remarks and said the public can make up their own minds on whether Ng was correct.

"We must abide by the law. No-one can make any contemptuous or derogatory remarks about judges or any public servant. But apart from that, we enjoy freedom of speech," Tsang said. "Why should we deprive this particular person of his freedom of speech?"

Meanwhile, Tsang also clarified that he does not believe Beijing's liaison office has been meddling in Hong Kong affairs, despite his call for the office's role to be spelled out clearly in the Basic Law.

Tsang's think tank recently suggested introducing a new clause in the mini-constitution setting out the office's responsibilities. He also said the Beijing envoys are not covered by Article 22 which states there should be no interference in Hong Kong affairs by any mainland department.-Photo: RTHK

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