A magistrate ruled on Wednesday that Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing would have to testify in court regarding events last June that saw a group of protesters allegedly push through railings to access the legislative building.

A total of 13 people, including Raphael Wong Ho-ming of the League of Social Democrats, appeared in Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday on charges of taking part in an unlawful assembly, forcible entry to the Legco, and obstructing a LegCo officer during the protests against development in the northeastern New Territories last June.

The protesters outside Eastern Law Courts Building on Tuesday. Photo: 社會民主連線via Facebook.

The demonstrators stand accused of charging into the LegCo and using bamboo sticks and umbrellas to force open the door. Over a dozen were arrested and four said they were beaten up by the police on the way to the station.

Jasper Tsang. Photo: Wikicommons.

The prosecution said that protesters injured a security guard and that the repair fees amounted to HK$422,000.

All of the defendants, save 24-year old waiter Wong Kan-yuen, denied the charges. The defence team said on Tuesday that a witness summons has been issued to ask Jasper Tsang and LegCo Councillor Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen to testify in court. Both, however, refused and asked for their summons to be cancelled, saying that they were busy and that it was unnecessary for them to go to court in person. Their testimony could be obtained from other LegCo members, they claimed.

Jasper Tsang. Photo: Wikicommons.

The magistrate said on Wednesday that the court could not rule that Tsang’s testimony was irrelevant to the case and said that he was the best person to adequately explain what happened on the day of the protests. Leung’s summon, however, will be withdrawn, Sing Tao Daily reported. The case was adjourned to September 25.

The demonstrators were opposed to a controversial HK$340 million funding plan for a New Territories development project. The plan was later passed during a vote which Legislative Council Finance Committee chairman Ng Leung-sing called when pan-democrats were out of their seats, a move many said violated LegCo procedures.

On Tuesday, Ng Leung-sing announced that he will not run for chairmanship of the LegCo Finance Committee.

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.