Pro-democracy lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung has denied contempt charges after he took several documents from a Hong Kong government official at a legislative meeting last year.
During a meeting on the Wang Chau housing controversy last November, the veteran legislator took a folder of documents placed on a bench by then-under secretary for development Eric Ma. He was criticising Ma for not publicising the documents, and passed the folder to fellow pro-democracy lawmaker Eddie Chu for examination.
Ma then filed a report about the incident to the police. Six months later, Leung received a police summons, accusing him of violating the “contempt” provision within the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance.
On Monday, Leung’s case was mentioned at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts. He attended the session accompanied by fellow pro-democracy lawmakers Kwok Ka-ki and Tanya Chan, shouting outside: “The common man is not guilty, this is persecution of dissidents and a political prosecution.”
His lawyer told the court that he denied the charges. A pre-trial review will be conducted on August 7.
Eric Ma summoned as witness
Local newspaper Ming Pao reported that the Department of Justice will summon three witnesses, including Eric Ma, a police officer and pro-Beijing lawmaker Alice Mak, who was chairing the meeting.
After the meeting, Mak had asked Legislative Council security personnel to retrieve the folder that Leung took and return it to Ma. Ma confirmed to Mak that no documents were missing, according to Ming Pao.
Three video clips from the Legislative Council website, security cameras and pro-Beijing media outlet Oriental Daily will also be submitted as evidence by the prosecution.
The Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance criminalises the creation of, or participation in, any disturbance which interrupts or is likely to interrupt the proceedings of the legislature.
Convicted offenders could be punished with a maximum fine of HK$10,000 and imprisonment for 12 months.