Four protesters who burnt copies of the State Council white paper outside the China Liaison Office last June requested a permanent suspension of legal proceedings in court on Friday morning.
Scholarism convenor Joshua Wong, ex-secretary general of Hong Kong Federation of Students Nathan Law, League of Social Democrats vice-chairman Raphael Wong and People Power lawmaker Albert Chan were charged with obstructing a police officer. The pre-trial review took place at Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Friday morning. Joshua Wong and Nathan Law were both represented by their lawyers, while Raphael Wong and Albert Chan represented themselves.
The defendants applied for a permanent stay of proceedings – if approved, the four will not face trial. Their application will be heard by the court on October 26. The prosecution requested to set a date for the trial, but the magistrate said that the application for stay of proceedings should first be dealt with.
Chan said that the Department of Justice was abusing legal processes, since the evidence in the case was weak. He said that they were burning the white paper in an orderly manner, without affecting the public. He also said that there were more police officers than protesters on the scene that day, and that the prosecution had charged them with obstructing police, despite protesters not been given prior warning.
Last June, protesters marched from Western Police Station to the Chinese Liaison Office, where they burnt replicas of the Chinese State Council white paper on One Country, Two Systems as well as “hell money”. The white paper referred to One Country, Two Systems but emphasised China’s “overall jurisdiction” over Hong Kong, and stated that the city would only enjoy autonomy in areas decided upon by the Chinese government. However, they were not charged until a year later.