Hong Kong’s regulatory board for social workers has found pro-democracy activist Ken Tsang guilty of misconduct after his conviction for pouring liquid over police officers and resisting arrest during the 2014 Occupy protests.

The Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) remains undecided on how to punish Tsang, and will meet again in August, local media reported.

Ken Tsang. File photo: Catherine Lai/HKFP.

Tsang, who formerly worked in youth outreach, was jailed for five weeks earlier this year for his part in the incident in October 2014. Seven officers who then assaulted him were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

Last year, a pro-Beijing social worker filed a complaint against Tsang with the SWRB, arguing that his conviction constituted professional misconduct. The SWRB’s disciplinary panel found the complaint substantiated last month, and the regulatory body discussed the charge on Monday night.

Dilemma

According to news outlet HK01, 11 members of the board voted to find him guilty of professional misconduct during the closed-door meeting on Monday, while three members abstained.

The disciplinary panel had recommended the suspension of Tsang’s licence for six months. Seven members of the board voted in favour of the suspension, while seven members voted against it. The chairman – who is allowed an extra vote in the event of a deadlock – voted against the punishment.

The 15-member board consists of eight members elected by social workers, six appointed by the government, and the Director of Social Welfare or his representative. Pro-democracy candidates, including Tsang, won all of the eight seats available in elections to the board in 2015.

Ken Tsang. File photo: Catherine Lai/HKFP.

Tsang told HKFP that he refrained from attending Monday’s meeting.

“Due to the system of confidentiality, I cannot reveal anything at this point in time,” he wrote on Facebook. “But I believe my compatriots and allies will stand firm on the bottom line of justice!”

See also: Interview: Occupy activist Ken Tsang on the 7 cops who beat him, prison life, and his political future

Local newspaper Ming Pao reported Monday that the SWRB faces a dilemma, given that punishing the activist would set a precedent for further complaints against social workers engaging in political activism. Meanwhile, failing to punish Tsang may provide an excuse for the pro-Beijing camp to attack the board.

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Elson Tong

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.