A former president of the Law Society of Hong Kong, who is considered a political rising star, has been caught in a controversy regarding a recent photograph taken inside a court building.
Solicitor Junius Ho Kwan-yiu posted a selfie on Thursday morning on his Facebook page, showing him in front of court no. 28 of the High Court, alongside other photos of his daily life.
According to the Summary Offences Ordinance, any person who takes or attempts to take any photograph in the courtroom, or in the court building, or in the precincts of the building in which the court is held, shall be liable to a fine of HK$250.
In his Facebook post, he said he has yet to see success inside the no. 28 court, and said “be patient uncle Pui!”
Ho, who was the president of the Law Society between 2012 and 2013, was at the High Court on Tuesday for his chamber’s client David Li Yam-pui for a chambers hearing on an application for bail pending appeal.
Li, an 82-year-old small house developer, received a jail term of three years last December for conspiracy to defraud the Lands Department in relation to the construction of small houses in the New Territories.
In a statement, Junius Ho said that he had no bad intentions and was not acting in contempt of court.
“The photo attracted some malicious criticism after it was posted, saying that I broke the law… I felt deeply disappointed about that,” he said.
He said the illegal acts stated in the Summary Offences Ordinance were for those causing interference to the trial process.
“Anyone with a normal mind would be able to see that the photo I posted was not inappropriate at all,” he added.
His photo raised some fellow lawyers’ eyebrows.
“Except for the admission of lawyer ceremonies on Saturday mornings, can a lawyer do that in court?” wondered Kevin Yam Kin-fung, a solicitor and a member of the Progressive Lawyers Group.
Activist group Hong Kong Indigenous and League of Social Democrats member Raphael Wong Ho-ming sent emails to the Police Commissioner reporting Ho’s photo, saying that he may have broken the law.
A police spokesman said they received a report from a court staff member saying a man had allegedly taken photographs inside the court. It will be handled by the Central Police District officers.
It was not the first time that Ho has been mired in controversy. Ho once criticised a concert organised by the Lingnan University’s student union for including songs with foul language. He said that the student union should be disbanded.
Ho, also a district councillor in Tuen Mun, beat Democratic Party’s veteran Albert Ho Chun-yan in the election last November, ending Ho’s 16-year tenure.
He also ran in the Legislative Council election in 2012 but lost. He is rumoured to be planning another run in the New Territories West constituency, or a bid for election from the tourism sector functional constituency in the election this September.