Independent protest panel bid ruled out

Top News | Cissy So 16 Aug 2019

Director of Public Prosecutions David Leung Cheuk-yin has ruled out setting up an independent panel under the Department of Justice to handle charges related to fugitive bill protests.

The Departure of Justice does not face pressure in its decision to prosecute and will handle all cases with the same principles regardless of people's background or political views, he said.

"I don't see a need for an independent committee, because every case adheres to the prosecution code and sufficient evidence to assess whether there's a reasonable prospect of a conviction and if it's in the public interest to do so," he said. "We will always adhere regardless of the case and background of the defendants."

Legal sector lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang had previously quoted sources saying Leung, Hong Kong's top prosecutor, suggested setting up such a panel before it was rejected by the Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah.

Asked whether there will be a conflict of interest if Cheng is involved in making prosecution decisions as she was responsible for promoting the now-suspended fugitive bill, Leung said if a particular prosecutor considers himself or herself to have a conflict of interest, then the person should avoid getting involved.

Asked why there were no prosecutions in the Yuen Long assaults, Leung said it depends on the evidence presented by police as well as whether the suspects were arrested at the crime scene.

Meanwhile, two men appeared in Sha Tin Magistrates' Courts yesterday for assaulting police at the airport on Tuesday night. The engineer Pang Kap-kin, 28, was charged with assaulting police constable Tang Tung-wa inside Terminal 1.

Tang was trying to subdue a protester who was throwing an object at police officers when Pang pulled the protester away and allegedly hit Tang's head with his hand. Pang was later subdued by another police officer.

An unemployed protester Au Tak-ful 27, faced one count of assaulting police sergeant Lee Chi-kin at Terminal 1. Prosecution said Au allegedly pointed a laser pen at Lee, whose left eye felt uncomfortable.

The two men were released on bail for HK$1,000 each. They have to observe curfew and stay in Hong Kong, and are banned from entering airport terminals.

Defense lawyers said both of them were assaulted by police officers after their arrest.

stella.wong@singtaonewscorp.com

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