Officers from the Emergency Unit rushed into a Labour Tribunal courtroom on Thursday morning after receiving a report of weapons in the building from a security guard.

The incident occurred at around 9am, before the hearing began at a third floor courtroom in Yau Ma Tei’s tribunal building, according to RTHK.

Apple Daily reported that nearly 20 Emergency Unit officers holding batons and shields rushed into the courtroom and called for everyone to put down their belongings. The police then searched everyone, including translators and reporters.

labour tribunal
Photo: In-Media.

Officers took away two men – one 74-year-old and one 40-year-old – to the police station for investigation. According to Apple Daily, both men were Sikh and carrying ceremonial swords. A 20 centimetre long blade was found on one of them. One was a construction worker attending a hearing over owed wages, and the other was accompanying him.

A police spokesperson told HKFP that the incident was originally classified as a “suspicious persons” case, but the two men have been released unconditionally after an investigation. The spokesperson said that if such objects are being carried for religious reasons, then police will not consider the case to have criminal elements.

RTHK cited the judiciary as saying that no one is permitted to take any items that can be used as weapons into courtrooms.

labour tribunal

Sikhs are required by their religion to carry a small ceremonial sword called a kirpan at all times as one of five articles of faith.

Kirpans with blades of up to 6 centimetres are permitted on flights in the UK under European Union standards.

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.