A 27-year-old chef who was accused by police of charging cordon lines “at a jogging pace” during the pro-democracy Occupy protests last October has been found not guilty of obstructing a police officer.

defendant Lau
The defendant Lau Tsz-on.

At the trial in Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Monday, counsel for the defence submitted video evidence which showed the defendant, Lau Tsz-on, first watching the confrontation between the protesters and the police from afar. The footage then showed him running to avoid being hit by police pepper spray, Apple Daily reported. He then fell over and was subdued by the police.

The evidence contradicted the testimony given by police officer Ho Yu-hin, who claimed that the defendant repeatedly charged police cordon lines. Ho also said that he had assisted in overpowering the defendant, but there was no sign of Ho throughout the video.

Deputy Magistrate Peter Hui handed down a not guilty verdict, rejecting Ho’s testimony on the basis that it was completely unreliable. The defendant requested his court fees to be paid for by the prosecution, but they argued that the defence had deliberately withheld the video footage, so as to cause the prosecution to misjudge the strength of the case. The magistrate said that while Ho had twisted the facts, the prosecution might have changed its direction if the defence had submitted the evidence earlier, thus demanding the costs to be be split between both parties.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.