The High Court has granted a woman who suffered an eye injury during clashes last month permission to challenge the police refusal to provide a copy of the warrant used to access her medical records.
The woman — known only as “K” owing to privacy and cyber-harassment concerns — was injured in her right eye by a suspected bean bag round in Tsim Sha Tsui on August 11. K has since become a symbol of alleged police violence during the city’s pro-democracy protests.
Senior Superintendent Steve Li confirmed on Tuesday that the Hospital Authority (HA) had handed over the woman’s medical information. The HA previously refused to provide the records but complied after police returned with a warrant.
The victim’s solicitors subsequently filed a legal challenge against police for their refusal to disclose the contents of the warrant and other related information. They said the decision was a breach of privacy and hindered their client from taking further legal action. But the Department of Justice has argued, among other points, that public interest immunity may be involved since the warrant contained confidential information.
Court of First Instance Judge Godfrey Lam said on Friday that he granted K permission to proceed with a judicial review after finding that there was an arguable case at a hearing the day before.
Lam added that police had expressed “no objection” to sealing K’s medical records and not using them in the meantime, so an interim injunction which would have required them to do this was unnecessary.
The citywide protests are nearing their 15th week, sparked by a soon-to-be-withdrawn extradition bill which would have allowed case-by-case fugitive transfers to China. Since June, large-scale peaceful protests have morphed into sometimes violent displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment and alleged police brutality.
K suffered a ruptured right eyeball in the vicinity of the Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station on Nathan Road, which required an emergency operation. The night saw demonstrators use slingshots and Molotov cocktails against police, who responded with tear gas and crowd control projectiles.
The incident triggered an international campaign calling for people to cover their right eye and post a photo on social media to support the woman, as well as the ongoing protest movement.
Hong Kong Free Press relies on direct reader support. Help safeguard independent journalism and press freedom as we invest more in freelancers, overtime, safety gear & insurance during this summer’s protests. 10 ways to support us.