Hong Kong’s High Court on Wednesday rejected an interim injunction application filed by the head of the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s (CUHK) student union which would have prohibited the police from entering the campus without a warrant and using crowd control weapons on-site without the school’s approval.

CUHK was the epicentre of fierce clashes on Tuesday as demonstrators and police fought for control of No. 2 bridge at the Sha Tin-based campus, with volleys of tear gas being fired and Molotov cocktails thrown in return.

File photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

The unrest followed a citywide strike the day before which brought parts of Hong Kong to a halt as MTR stations closed and multiple roadblocks were erected. Masked groups remained in CUHK on Wednesday.

CUHK Student Union President Jacky So said outside the court that he was disappointed by the result and would consider further legal action.

“Even if this injunction application failed, it does not mean police can violate their guidelines, the Public Order Ordinance and Hong Kong’s laws,” he said. “The protests will continue. Five demands, not one less. Disband the police force now.”

Photo: Kaiser/United Social Press.

Judge Wilson Chan said in his judgment that police of, or above, the rank of an inspector can stop or disperse any gathering or procession whenever and wherever if he reasonably believes that it is likely to cause, or lead to, a breach of the peace.

“I agree with the [Hong Kong Police Force’s] contention that given the violent incidents occurring at No.2 Bridge as well as other parts of CUHK, and considering the legal bases and clear necessity for the force to enter into the CUHK precincts, there is no reason for the court to exercise its discretion to restrict the force’s exercise of force in a blanket manner,” he wrote. “An interim injunction order will become a significant hindrance against the force’s law enforcement (including the exercise of the power of arrest and use of force) which shall very much depend on the circumstances and developments at or in the vicinity of CUHK in a responsive manner.”

“In other words, in my view the refusal of interim relief carries the lower risk of injustice if it should turn out to have been ‘wrong’ in the sense of granting an injunction to a party who fails to establish his right at the trial,” Chan added.

More to follow.

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Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.