Two groups of four from the same rally still breaches social gathering ban, court heard

Local | 13 Jan 2021 7:26 pm

A group of eight appears in court today for breaching the social gathering ban during a rally last July, making it the first case on trial for breaching the ban during demonstrations.

This came after members from the Labour Party and League of Social Democrats demonstrated in Admiralty on May 1 last year, calling on the government to set up an unemployment relief subsidy alongside other labor rights.

The eight, including Labour Party chairman Steven Kwok Wing-kin, 33, League of Social Democrats chairman Raphael Wong Ho-ming, 31, “long hair” Leung Kwok-hung, pled not guilty, as the court heard that although the eight were divided into two groups of four, they are still taking part in the same rally.

Senior inspector Alex Wai Kam-kwong said the eight did not keep a social distance of 1.5 meters, while they also chatted with each other and spoke to reporters at the scene.

As Wai was asked if he agrees that the eight were divided into two groups of four, he said each four of them holds a banner, but is taking part in the same demonstration.

“I have made repeated warnings to them, but it was in vain, and they tried to leave in two groups after they saw police officers ready to hand out fixed fines for breaching the social gathering ban,” Wai told the court.

The defense said the eight were executing their rights safeguarded by the Basic Law to take part in peaceful protests, and therefore had a reasonable excuse.

But Wai disagreed, insisting that the protest is not exempted by the social gathering ban.

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