League chief guilty in oath-taking case

Top News | Stella Wong 16 May 2019

League of Social Democrats chairman Avery Ng Man-yuen has been convicted by a West Kowloon Magistrates' Court of two counts of inciting others to take part in unlawful assembly over the 2016 protest at the Liaison Office.

Ng, 42, said he would appeal.

He was among seven activists who pleaded not guilty to various charges in connection with the protest against the National People's Congress' interpretation of the Basic Law's Article 104 on lawmakers' oath-taking.

Four activists - Ip Chi-hin, 29; Chan Man-wai, 25; Lo Tak-cheong, 24, and Cheng Pui-lun, 24 - were each convicted of taking part in unlawful assembly.

Ip and Dickson Chau Ka-faat, 27, were each convicted of obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty.

Chau Shu-wing, 67, was acquitted of taking part in unlawful assembly.

Two other activists, Demosisto's Ivan Lam Long-yin and his former party colleague Derek Lam Shun-hin earlier pleaded guilty to one count of taking part in an unlawful assembly and one count of incitement to behave in a disorderly manner in a public place.

Magistrate Peony Wong Nga-yan deferred sentencing all of them till September 11.

In the protest on November 6, 2016, protesters deviated from the police-approved route to hold an assembly outside the Liaison Office in Sheung Wan. The court heard that Ng had encouraged protesters on two occasions to climb over barricades outside the Liaison Office, challenging a police cordon.

Wong said the videos show that Ng climbed a barricade and shook it. He encouraged protesters and said "we have more people than the police, we can just climb over." Others protesters, including four defendants, followed.

Wong said although Ng asked people to climb "slowly and with discipline," he must clearly know that police would stop them and the actions must involve a certain level of violence. It is impossible to be disciplined in the process, she added.

Wong said Ng had ignored police warnings and disrupted the peace, leaving officers and journalists fearing for their safety.

On the charges of taking part in unlawful assembly faced by Ip, Chan Man-wai and Lo, Wong said their behavior of climbing and shaking barricades unquestionably challenged a police cordon. But Chau Shu-wing was acquitted as Wong could not see him shaking the barricades in the video.

After police chief inspector Alfred Gar Kam-lam ordered to arrest Ng, Ip and Chau Ka-faat held on to Ng to stop officers from removing him. Wong ruled that this was a behavior of obstruction.

A day after the protest, Beijing approved the Basic Law interpretation, requiring all public officials to take their oaths "sincerely" and "solemnly." This eventually resulted in disqualification of Sixtus Leung Chung-hang, Yau Wai-ching and four other lawmakers.

stella.wong@singtaonewscorp.com

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