Hong Kong’s justice secretary has been criticised for intervening in a lawmaker’s private lawsuit against a police officer who shot a protester during a demonstration last year.
Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui filed a private prosecution against a traffic branch sergeant for firing a live round at a 22-year-old man in Sai Wan Ho last November 11. But Hui wrote on Facebook on Tuesday that Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng had intervened in the lawsuit and withdrawn the summons issued to the officer involved. He is subsequently exempted from appearing at the hearing scheduled on August 31.
Hui criticised Cheng’s intervention as overriding the rule of law with the rule of man, as she failed to provide any reasoning for withdrawing the charges. He added that he suspected the Department of Justice (DoJ) decision was politically motivated: “DoJ’s decision equates to condoning police violence and undermines the right of an ordinary citizen to institute private prosecutions under common law,” the Facebook post read.
“ They decided to withdraw the charge when an investigation never even took place. They are merely protecting the police regardless of their actions,” Hui added.
Upon receiving the DoJ letter, Hui wrote that he will discuss it with his legal team and consider filing a judicial review. He demanded that Cheng disclose to the public the reasoning for ending the proceedings.
The private prosecution against the sergeant included three charges – shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm, discharging ammunition with reckless disregard for the safety of others and dealing with arms in a manner likely to injure, or endanger the safety of other person.
Hui earlier raised HK$3,500,000 for five court cases in connection with last year’s protest that erupted in June over an ill-fated extradition bill. The crowdfunding page stated that the fund will be used for the present case, as well as private prosecutions against two other police officers. One allegedly shot an 18-year-old student in Tsuen Wan last October 1, and another stands accused of ramming a motorcycle into a crowd in Kwai Fong last November 11.
A court earlier ordered the police force to reveal the chemical contents of tear gas following another legal case brought by Hui. And another private prosecution filed by Hui was accepted against a taxi driver who allegedly drove his vehicle into a crowd at a protest site last year.