Hong Kong’s justice secretary has moved to block an opposition lawmaker’s attempt to prosecute a taxi driver who allegedly drove into a crowd of anti-government protesters, the second time in recent days that she has made such a move.

A court in June had accepted an application by Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui to bring a private prosecution against the driver, accused of ramming his vehicle into the crowd at a protest rally in Sham Shui Po last October 6.

west kowloon law courts building judiciary
The West Kowloon Law Courts Building. File photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

On Thursday, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng intervened in the case to seek to dismiss charges against the driver and exempt him from appearing. A court will formally consider her request later this month.

The driver was originally due to appear on August 31. If convicted of dangerous driving he could have faced a maximum fine of HK$50,000 and up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

The move came two days after the justice secretary intervened in another private prosecution lodged by Hui against a police officer who fired a live round which injured a protester last November.

Hui accused Cheng at that time of undermining citizens’ rights to pursue private prosecutions under the common law system. “Teresa Cheng did not provide any reasonable justification to drop the private prosecution. The move essentially condones police brutality and and airs support to pro-government persons for violent acts, as she cannot tell black from white.”

The legislator said he would consider seeking a judicial review of Cheng’s intervention.

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Hui, in total, filed five private prosecutions in connection with last year’s months-long anti-government protests after raising HK$3,500,000 on a crowdfunding site.

Earlier a court ordered the force to reveal the contents of tear gas following a civil injunction filed by Hui. He also plans to pursue two private prosecutions involving police officers. One allegedly shot an 18-year-old student in Tsuen Wan last October 1, and another is accused of ramming a motorcycle into a crowd in Kwai Fong last November 11.

Rachel Wong previously worked as a documentary producer and academic researcher. She has a BA in Comparative Literature and European Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She has contributed to A City Made by People and The Funambulist, and has an interest in cultural journalism and gender issues.