Following its recent loss in a lawsuit against Falun Gong practitioners for “obstruction” and “attacking police”, the Hong Kong Government has yet again failed in a legal action.
Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal ruled against the government in its case of violating the “Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Administrative Penalties for Public Security” (“Public Security Regulations.”) Member of “April 5th Action,” legislator Liang Guoxiong, and former members of Hong Kong Federation of Students Feng Jiaqiang and Lu Weiming were the defendants in the case.
In the decision, handed down on October 3, the five judges also ruled that suit involved the public interest and as a result, the Hong Kong Government should pay costs amounting to around 30,000 yuan (US$3,707.28). Liang Guoxiong expressed his satisfaction with this verdict. Mr. Liang also highlighted the court’s opinion that the “Public Security Regulations” has loopholes, thus urging the government to make the necessary changes in these laws.
The Department of Justice first used the “Public Security Regulations” in 2002 to sue Mr. Liang and the other two for unauthorized assembly. Early this July, the Court of Final Appeal decided four to one in favor of the defendants. But the decision on costs was not made at that time. The final judgment states that use of the regulations’ powers by police has been heavy-handed and indiscriminate. Under the regulations’ provisions, police commissioners can bar or restrict public assembly using excuses such as “maintaining social order” and “protecting the rights and freedom of others”. However, the judges do not believe that the “Public Security Regulations” are in line with the requirements of Hong Kong’s Basic Laws.