Two anti-parallel trading protesters were found not guilty of assaulting and obstructing a police officer at Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Court on Monday, after the credibility of the police’s testimony came under question.

The defendants, a 16-year-old student and an 18-year-old construction worker, took part in the anti-parallel trading protests in Yuen Long in March. The first defendant was alleged to have kicked a police sergeant who was assisting mainland tourists while the second defendant was charged with obstructing the sergeant’s attempt to arrest the first defendant, Stand News reported.

Parallel trading protests in Yuen Long. Photo: SocREC 社會記錄頻道.

The magistrate said that the police sergeant who claimed to have been assaulted changed his testimony several times and avoided questions under cross-examination. The sergeant first said that he saw a pink sports shoe when he turned around after feeling someone kick him in the calf, and then later claimed only to have seen the first defendant withdrawing her foot, with no mention of the shoe.

The police sergeant.

The sergeant denied having hit the first defendant on the head, although video footage submitted to the court showed him doing so, Apple Daily reported.

The magistrate said that the scene was chaotic and that it was unlikely the police officer had given a warning before arresting the second defendant. He said that although both defendants were behaving suspiciously, he had doubts as to whether the police officer had executed his duties properly and acquitted the pair.

Last month, a legal scholar called for the establishment of an information database to record instances of false police testimony, after many cases related to the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement revealed their unreliability.

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.