Pan-dem five fight 'broad' phone search

Local | Erin Chan 14 Aug 2020

Democratic Party cofounder Martin Lee Chu-ming is among five people challenging the police accessing their mobile phone content as authorized by a court warrant, saying the coverage is "too broad" for their particular cases.

Lee, alongside former lawmakers Au Nok-hin, Albert Ho Chun-yan, Sin Chung-kai and Yeung Sum, are among 15 charged with unlawful assembly over involvement in protests between August and October last year.

In June, police obtained a warrant to access information from the five's phones as part of their investigation.

In a judicial review hearing yesterday before judges Alex Lee Wan-tang and Russell Coleman, Pang Yiu-hung, the barrister representing the five, said the warrant's coverage is "too broad" as it gives police full access to all data on their phones.

He said mobile phone content should only only relevant to the charges faced by the five.

Pang also said that the warrant does not list out police's search parameters and the dates the searches should take place, only the defendants' offenses, which cannot satisfy common law conditions.

He also criticized the magistrate's decision not to let the defendants rebut the warrant's coverage before issuing it.

In response, Johnny Mok Shu-luen, for the government, said the warrant issued by the magistrate meant that the search should be reasonable, adding that such an invasive act is inevitable.

He said only mobile information linked to the case should be accessed, and that there are legal safeguards allowing legal challenges later.

The judgment is reserved for a later date.

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