The Hong Kong Police (2): No compromise! No quarter given!

 

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Excerpts from:

Know your rights at Hong Kong protests: FAQ with the Progressive Lawyers Group

By Jason Y. Ng and Billy Li from Progressive Lawyers Group

Since the anti-extradition bill movement erupted in June, mass demonstrations have evolved from an annual exercise on 1 July to a weekly—even nightly—occurrence.

n response to escalating violence, the police are increasingly issuing objection letters to public assemblies on the grounds of public safety. They have also stepped up stop and search operations targeting young people, and responded to protests with greater use of force. To date, nearly 1,200 people have been arrested and charged with a range of crimes including rioting, unauthorised assembly, vandalism and assault.

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All of this has raised the stakes at risk in joining a protest, even as a peaceful participant. In the event of a police search or arrest, knowing your rights and doing the smart thing can be the difference between walking free and getting into serious legal trouble.

Below is an FAQ designed to guide you through the legal terrain when you exercise your constitutionally protected freedom of assembly. When it comes to managing protest risks, prevention is far better than cure.

Question: Can I get into trouble for just being present at an unauthorised assembly?

Answer: An “unauthorised assembly” is a public gathering or procession to which the police have issued an objection letter. Recent examples include the Yuen Long march on 27 July and the Chater Garden rally on 31 August. The crime is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Whether a person present at an unauthorised assembly is considered an active participant or innocent passer-by is a question of fact. The prosecution must present factual evidence to prove that the suspect is part of the assembly, such as photos or video recordings showing him or her chanting slogans or brandishing an anti-government placard.

For more:

Know your rights at Hong Kong protests: FAQ with the Progressive Lawyers Group

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