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Teresa Cheng halts private prosecution by Ray Chan

2020-11-06 HKT 18:07
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  • Teresa Cheng halts private prosecution by Ray Chan
James To
Former legislator Ray Chan says he has been informed that Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng has taken over his private prosecution against pro-Beijing lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung and is moving to have the assault case withdrawn.

On his Facebook page, Chan said he was notified of the decision by the Department of Justice on Friday afternoon.

Chan posted the image of a letter signed by Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Anthony Chau and addressed to West Kowloon Magistracy.

It asks the court to arrange a hearing on November 9, where the prosecution will “offer no evidence to the summons” against Kwok.

Chan launched the lawsuit in May, following what he said was inaction on the part of the police.

The former lawmaker said in the Facebook post that the Department of Justice had no reason to let Kwok “off the hook”, adding that he would talk to his legal team about their next step.

Video footage captured the moment when Kwok, from the Federation of Trade Unions, dragged Chan through a conference room and to the floor as the rival camps clashed during a struggle for control of a House Committee meeting on May 8.

Chan, from People Power, went to hospital and said doctors told him he had suffered a slipped disk as a result of the incident.

Eight members of the pro-democracy camp, including Chan, are being prosecuted over chaotic scenes during the same meeting.

Democratic Party Lawmaker James To – who’s also a lawyer – says the justice secretary has abused her power in halting a case where the plaintiff had a realistic chance of winning.

"It's the victim who is privately prosecuting the attacker, it's not a third party trying to abuse the process," he said.

He noted that the attack took place in public, and people can clearly see there is a prima facie case for assault.

“I think the abuse of power by the Secretary of Justice has very serious implications on Hong Kong,” he added. “It will undermine the [image] of rule of law [in Hong Kong] in the international society.”

The legislator added that it has been “quite obvious” that Cheng has been acting to protect pro-government figures from private prosecutions.

In August, the minister twice exercised her authority to take control of private prosecutions initiated by Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui.

Hui had been prosecuting a taxi driver whose vehicle ploughed into a group of protesters in Sham Shui Po last year, as well as a police officer who shot and seriously injured a young protester in Sai Wan Ho.

Last updated: 2020-11-06 HKT 20:23