A woman has been arrested for allegedly insulting a magistrate following a series of protests against the recent jailing of retired superintendent Frankly Chu.
The 63-year-old woman, surnamed Kwok, was arrested Monday on charges of contempt of court. A police spokesperson said she allegedly made insulting remarks against judicial personnel outside the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on January 3.
Kwok was accused of making the remarks outside court, where Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai sentenced Chu to three months in prison for hitting a pedestrian with a baton during the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests.
Dozens of Chu’s supporters hurled insults at the Indian-born magistrate, calling her a “dog” and uttering racial slurs against her.
They said foreign judges were not welcome and that it would only be fair if “Chinese people were tried by Chinese judges.” The protesters said the judiciary was being unfair and called the jail sentence “an international joke.”
Kwok has been released on bail and is required to report to the police next month.
“Any attack on anyone based on one’s ethnicity must not be tolerated. Not only is such [an] attack unwarranted, but it also undermines the role of Hong Kong as an international city,” the Progressive Lawyers’ Group said in a statement earlier.
“Even worse, personal attacks on a judge for reasons unrelated to the judgment is an attack on Hong Kong’s judicial independence.”
The group urged the justice secretary to defend the judiciary, expressing concern that personal attacks against judges may become a trend if the government does not take action.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice told HKFP earlier that malicious attacks on judges may constitute contempt of court.
Similar incidents took place last year when District Court Judge David Dufton jailed seven police officers for two years for beating activist Ken Tsang in another high-profile police assault case during the Occupy protests.
Some police supporters made racist remarks and accused non-Chinese judges of “plotting against China and messing up Hong Kong.” The case sparked renewed discussions on the nationality of Hong Kong judges among Chinese scholars and pro-Beijing groups.
No arrests have been made in relation to the protests so far, despite the justice department’s referral of the incident to police.