The magistrate who jailed a woman for more than three months for assaulting a police officer with her left breast is fearing for his personal safety after receiving threats, he has said.

Michael Chan Pik-kiu said threats against him were made at around the time 30-year-old Ng Lai-ying was convicted of assaulting Chief Inspector Chan Ka-po in early July, but that he had not let them affect his decision to lock up the defendant for three months and 15 days.

Sentencing Ng on Thursday, he told the court: “I was threatened and was worried about my personal safety. But I won’t feel angry because of this and increase the sentence. Nor would I reduce the sentence due to fear. These threats do not affect my considerations for sentencing,” according to the Standard newspaper.

Ng Lai-ying was arrested during an anti-parallel trading protest in Yuen long.
Ng Lai-ying was arrested during an anti-parallel trading protest in Yuen long.

Ng was convicted by Chan alongside three co-defendants – with the group being dubbed the “Yuen Long Four” – after taking part in an anti-parallel trading protest in Yuen Long last March. Ng was found guilty of shoving her chest into Chief Inspector Chan’s arm as he was attempting to control the protest.

Two of Ng’s co-defendants, Kwong Chung-hung and Poon Tsz-hang, both 20, were sentenced to five months and one week in a rehabilitation centre and five months and three weeks in prison respectively. A 14-year-old co-defendant was sent to a rehabilitation centre for an indeterminate period of time.

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said he was “deeply concerned” with Chan’s threats. “Any criticisms or comments should not go beyond legal boundaries. One should not make personal attacks to the magistrate, especially if they are insulting,” he said.

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Posted by MM on 2015年3月1日

Yuen said he was aware that protesters had chanted offensive slogans outside court on the day of sentencing. He said that if the behaviour amounted to contempt or other criminal offences, the Department of Justice would “definitely follow up”.

Protesters who gathered outside court on Thursday opened the building doors several times and yelled “corrupt official”, according to Stand News. Magistrate Chan said in court that the protesters’ actions may constitute contempt.

Protesters holding slogans outside court calling Magistrate Chan
Protesters holding slogans outside court calling Magistrate Chan “despicable”.

He added: “As we are deeply concerned with this incident, we will be in contact with the police. If we have sufficient evidence and other details, we will consider if we will take legal action.”

Yuen emphasised that Hong Kong is a society governed by the rule of law and said if the convicted were dissatisfied with the sentencing, they should appeal according to judicial procedures.

Michael Chan Pik-kiu.
Michael Chan Pik-kiu.

Chan is appointed by the Chief Justice as a deputy magistrate, which is a part-time post. According to the Magistrates Ordinance, any qualified barrister, solicitor or advocate who has practised in Hong Kong courts or other common law jurisdictions is eligible for the position.

As a deputy magistrate, Chan has “all the jurisdiction, power and privileges” of a permanent magistrate.

Last Sunday, more than 200 people gathered outside the High Court to protest the convictions.

Paul Benedict Lee is an undergraduate law student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Paul has previously contributed to HK Magazine and Radio Television Hong Kong, covering issues ranging from local heritage conservation to arts features. He has also worked as a legal intern at local human rights firm Daly & Associates.