Another Mandarin-speaking man has been suspected of taking photos inside a courtroom during the trial of localist Edward Leung. He was barred from entering the courtroom. The police said no further action will be taken at this stage as no evidence was found.

The judge said the incident may be a misunderstanding and jurors have no need to be concerned.

It came after a similar incident last month in which a man – claiming to be a mainland tourist – was discovered taking photos inside the courtroom and uploading them onto social media during the same trial. The police followed up, but no one has been arrested.

court suspect
The man suspected of taking photos inside the courtroom.

On Tuesday, a member of the jury told the judge that a man in the public gallery was taking photos of them. Judge Anthea Pang ordered everyone in the public gallery not to leave and or use electronic devices as security guards and bailiffs guarded the exits.

The man spoke Mandarin and said he did not understand Cantonese. He appeared surprised when he was taken away, according to Stand News. The trial was conducted in Cantonese.

The man was taken away by the police for investigation on Tuesday. The judge ordered a ban on media reports, which was lifted the following day, after the prosecution explained the police’s findings.

The prosecution’s Senior Counsel Eric Kwok said on Wednesday that the police took two phones from the man. They did not find any photos or videos on the phones. They also found no evidence that any photos or videos had been sent out or deleted.

The man appeared in the courtroom again on Wednesday morning. Kwok asked the judge to invoke powers under section 122 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance to bar the man from entering the courtroom – so that he would not affect jurors – but he would be allowed to watch the trial via live broadcast in another room.

The judge approved the request and warned the man he would face legal consequences if he disobeyed the order.

high court
File photo: In-Media.

The prosecution revealed further investigation results on Wednesday afternoon.

Kwok said the police conducted forensic examinations to check for deleted files and took a statement from the man. They did not find adequate evidence that he had taken photos during the period of time stated by the jury members, or sent photos to anyone. Kwok said the investigation was concluded, but the judge decided he should still be barred from entering the courtroom, as his presence may affect jurors.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.