A magistrate who has come in for heavy criticism from Beijing supporters and media over rulings in cases linked to Hong Kong's social unrest is being transferred to the Obscene Articles Tribunal, the judiciary has confirmed.
A spokeswoman said on Wednesday that the decision to move Lam Tsz-kan from West Kowloon Court was taken due to a "normal operational need."
The transfer, which will come into effect on November 2, means Lam will stop hearing normal criminal cases.
The magistrate recently acquitted an accounting clerk of possessing an offensive weapon after she was prosecuted for shining a laser pen at police officers in a vehicle some distance away.
On another occasion, Lam said police officers had used excessive force to subdue the defendant in a protest-related case.
His decisions sparked anger among police supporters, with pro-Beijing figures adding these cases to a list of complaints regarding judges and magistrates they accused of being biased in favour of anti-government protesters.
In August another magistrate, Stanley Ho, rejected the testimony of two police officers in a protest-related case, saying they had "told lie after lie" in court. He was switched to administrative duties at the High Court last month, with the judiciary insisting the move was not related to the complaints made against him over his remarks.
The judiciary spokeswoman said Lam's move to the tribunal will provide him with an opportunity to gain further judicial experience. She added that the complaints against him will be handled in accordance with established mechanisms.