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Society & Politics

Former student leaders exempt from imprisonment over University council siege

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: CHAN Yeuk Hang Erin、Michael ShumEdited by: Tracy Zhang、Daisy Lee
  • 2017-09-22

Former student leader Billy Fung Jing-en was sentenced to 240 hours of community service on Thursday over the siege of the University of Hong Kong governing council meeting last year. Fung, then president of the University of Hong Kong Student Union, was convicted of acting in a disorderly conduct by forcing his way into the meeting venue and damaging the front door. His then vice-president, Colman Li Fung-kei, 22, was sentenced to 200 hours of community service for obstruction of blocking paramedics from sending council member Leonie Ki Man-fung to hospital, who was injured during the protests. Both men were convicted in July, but only Fung pleaded guilty to the charges of criminal damage and attempted forcible entry. Magistrate Ko Wai-hung stated that even though both were meant to uphold the belief of social justice, using violence to achieve so is unacceptable. "Your identity as university student is not a halo but a spell. People would follow your every move. Your actions may receive mixed reactions. But if you are opinionated, you will wander from righteousness," said Ko. Ko added that he hoped Fung and Li can use legal, non-violence means to give back to the society upon community sentence. Over hundred mitigation letters were presented to court in support of Fung and Li before the court hearing yesterday. Among the letter writers, there are HKU's president Peter Matheison and HKU council member Leonie Ki Man-fung. Ki was blocked by Li on her way to hospital after being shoved and kicked during the tense protests by students demanding a conversation with chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung. Ki stated in the letter that she had forgiven Li after meeting him, who had made a sincere apology. Fung reflected on his jail exemption through facebook. "We may be upset or helpless over our …

Groups call for prompt legal actions on pro-independence students

  • 2017-09-13
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: CHAN Yeuk Hang Erin、Michael ShumEdited by: Tracy Zhang、Daisy Lee
  • 2017-09-13

A number of anti-independence groups urged the Police Force to take legal actions on activists who put up banners calling for independence of the city on university campuses days before on Tuesday morning. Gathering outside Hong Kong Police Headquarters, one of the pro-Beijing groups reiterated that "discussion of Hong Kong Independence is a sheer violation of the basic law". Anti-independence group Protect Hong Kong member Mrs. Lam, one of the protesters on the scene, said that she hopes law enforcement would "pursue legal action" against pro-independence activists on campuses. "July 1, 1997 is the indication that Hong Kong has fully returned to China ever since. The pro-independence messages posted on campuses are simply sugarcoated poison that distort the values of [university] students," she said. Solicitor Chong Yiu-kwong said it is a hot potato to judge whether putting pro-independence posters on university campuses is illegal. "In the context of Hong Kong's legal system, generally speaking, criminal liability will arise only when you have committed something the law mentioned specifically as illegal. So [In my opinion], it is highly unlikely that simply posting a poster with pro-independence message will cause the subversion of a country [China]," he said. "Even if the expressions made by university students on pro-independence can be justified in the current law of Hong Kong, the Beijing government might interpret "freedom of speech" differently," said Chong. Chinese University student union leader Au Tse-ho, described the action of putting up pro-independence banners on university campuses as a "healthy practice". "According to my knowledge, these actions happening in universities are all liable and are conducted in a rational way that is not hurting anyone," Au said. Former convenor of Civil Human Rights Front Eric Lai Yan-ho said universities should allow a high level of freedom of expression. Reported by Alexander Lin,  Erin Chan …