Pro-democracy activist Nathan Law told a court on Wednesday that he was “punched and kicked” by what he believed to be pro-China protesters at the Hong Kong International Airport in January.

Law, who was still a Demosisto lawmaker at the time, was surrounded by protesters following a trip to Taiwan in January, where he and three activists and lawmakers were attending a forum hosted by the country’s New Power Party.

Nathan Law with pictures of his injuries at the press conference following the incident. Photo: 羅冠聰 Nathan Law via Facebook.

Five defendants— Giok Kheng, Tong Fat-cheung, Lam Kam-sheung, Lau Pit-chuen and Kwong Kwai-sim — were subsequently charged with taking part in an unlawful assembly and common assault over the events.

The trial commenced on Wednesday before Magistrate Edward Wong Ching-yu at the West Kowloon Magistrates Court. It is expected to last four days. All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty.

West Kowloon Magistrates Courts. File photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

Law, who was the first witness to be summoned before the court, said he had arranged to meet the press at the airport after returning from his Taiwan trip. When he reached the arrival hall at the Hong Kong International Airport, he was escorted by airport security staff and police officers at the scene.

However, Law said that around 20-30 protesters were holding placards and chanting slogans such as “traitor” and “running dog.” As he made his way towards the press, he was surrounded by the protesters, and punched and kicked by them. They also splashed him with an unknown liquid, he told the court. In the chaos, security staff escorted him out of the airport.

He said that he had been told prior to the events to use a special passage out of the airport. However, he believed that the police and airport security would ensure his safety, and that he had the right to take part in interviews.

Law was able to identify the defendants from the news footage shown in court.


Karen Cheung

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.