Former Law Society chairperson and Tuen Mun District Councillor Junius Ho has denied that he was “interfering” by setting up a committee and meeting with Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen last Friday. Then, at a forum on Sunday, Ho also said that he believed the police were too mild in their response to last Monday’s unrest in Mong Kok and that when necessary, they should shoot protesters.

Ho, along with other professionals in the legal sector such as Fred Kan Ka-chong, have set up a concern group to “defend the law and the dignity of the police” and met with Yuen on Friday. The group asked the government to charge those involved in the riots with more crimes, such as arson, Ming Pao reported. Kan also said that the sentences would have a deterrent effect and reflect the “riot” nature of the incident. “We don’t want Hong Kong to become an anarchy.”

Junius Ho (extreme left) and Fred Kan (second from right. Photo: Stand News.

On Saturday, Progressive Lawyers Group convenor Kevin Yam said on Facebook that it was premature of the group to use the term “rioters” to describe the protesters, as “rioting” was a criminal offence and carried with it legal implications; as lawyers, Ho and others should know that whether it was considered a “riot” would depend on what charge the Department of Justice’s decided to prosecute them with, and the decision of the court.

File photo: Joel Christian.

Yam also said that it was not a simple matter of “freedom of speech”, as Ho’s actions could be violating Article 63 of the Basic Law, which states that “The Department of Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall control criminal prosecutions, free from any interference.” This was especially inappropriate given how Ho and others were solicitors, meaning they were “officers of the court”, Yam said.

Ho, however, said that his actions were most definitely appropriate and not “interfering”, because “anyone with a conscience would care [about the incident].”

Junius Ho Kwan-yiu. File Photo: Stand News/RTHK screen capture.

On Sunday, Ho appeared on RTHK’s City Forum and said that he believed that the police were overly mild in their response, Apple Daily reported. “You should be happy that they didn’t use tear gas… in [1967 riots], shotguns were used.”

When asked by Scholarism member Oscar Lai Man-lok whether it meant that Ho believed Hongkongers should be shot, Ho first said, “When necessary”, and then when pressed by Lai, added, “It would not be killing Hongkongers, it would be killing rioters.”

Ho also said that all suitable methods should be adopted to maintain public order, implying that in such a case the term “killing” would not bear its ordinary meaning.

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.