Hong Kong’s “king of judicial reviews,” veteran litigant Kwok Cheuk-kin has launched a legal challenge against Hong Kong’s Covid-19 Vaccine Pass scheme and the use of the LeaveHomeSafe contact tracing app, arguing that the public health measures were harming Hongkongers’ physical and mental health.

Kwok filed his latest bid at the High Court on Monday. It came days after his bid to dispute the government’s decision to change the law relating to “fraudulent” vaccine exemption certificates was rejected.

Kwok Cheuk-kin launched a judicial review against Hong Kong’s Vaccine Pass Scheme and the required use of LeaveHomeSafe contact-tracing app. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

In the application, he said the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance was introduced for handling a public health emergency, but the Covid-19 pandemic has gone on for more than two years and was no longer an imminent threat. He also said the legislation has been harmful to people’s health and well-being.

“Because of the Vaccine Pass Scheme and the LeaveHomeSafe app, Hong Kong’s economy has been on the decline… And the slump has affected citizens’ mental and physical health – their emotions have been disturbed,” Kwok said.

Photo: GovHK.

Under current regulations, the use of the LeaveHomeSafe app is mandatory for entering all public facilities. Patrons must also have received at least three doses of a Covid jab or the equivalent, to enter venues such as restaurants, bars and gyms under the Vaccine Pass. The Vaccine Pass applies to children as young as five.

Jab exemption certificate review

Kwok is no stranger challenging the constitutionality of Covid-19 related policies. In October, he successfully repealed a government plan to annul more than 20,000 Covid-19 vaccination exemption certificates, which authorities alleged were issued without proper medical consultation.

The government, however, amended the law days later to allow such invalidations to occur.

Kwok told reporters on Monday that there was nothing he could do if the government took that course of action again.

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Almond Li

Almond Li is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously worked for Reuters and Happs TV as a freelancer, and as a reporter at Hong Kong International Business Channel, Citizen News and Commercial Radio Hong Kong. She earned her Masters in Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has an interest in LGBT+, mental health and environmental issues.