Pro-establishment lawmaker Edward Lau says a HK$5,000 fine does not serve a sufficient warning, in response to the punishment handed down by a court to Civic Passion lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai for desecrating flags.

Cheng was seen flipping miniature desktop flags in protest during a legislative session last October. The Eastern Magistrate’s Court found him guilty on Friday of desecrating the regional and national flags, slapping him with a HK$5,000 fine.

Edward Lau Kwok-fan. Photo: Facebook.

Lau said that he decided to hand out 12 sets of national and regional flags at the second legislative meeting of the term for other lawmakers to display on their desks. It was a reminder that the country should be respected, according to his testimony in court earlier this month. Lau later called the police in response to Cheng’s actions.

On Friday, Lau said that he respected the court’s ruling, but pointed out that people have been imprisoned for burning and scrawling on the flag, and he believed that Cheng received a light sentence, Ming Pao reported.

File photo: In-Media.

Lau said that there was no excuse, however elegantly put, for insulting the country and violating the law. He added that Hong Kong people have a duty to respect the “One Country, Two Systems” principle as well as to reflect upon the relationship between Hong Kong and China.

On the topic of pro-independence banners that emerged on university campuses, Lau said that – without limitations to freedom of expression and speech – the country’s security and unity could be harmed.

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.