Law & Crime Opinion

Harmonious Hong Kong brings adversaries together for a fair cop-out

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Justice Minister Korsakov is quite right to prosecute Ken Tsang and seven police officers on the same day. It blends in perfectly with the government’s evident wish to bring adversaries together in the same place and, even better in this case, at the same time. Opportunities for this closeness of harmony are rare and I hope it’s sunny for them.

Of course, it came as a surprise to many of us that the much-abused Mr Tsang was going to be prosecuted for anything. The first incomplete trickles of the news brought with them the delicious prospect of Mr Tsang being accused of somehow having assaulted those who are alleged to have been the ones giving him a good going over in the dark.

ken tsang police

Photo: StandNews.

It reminded me of what used to be called in England ‘the Portsmouth defence’, in which English sailors on drunken runs ashore who beat people up would claim to the court that they needed to defend themselves because the victim was a homosexual who had touched them up. I could hear the development of a new ‘Tamar defence’. “M’lud, I submit that the witness, in a fit of perverse passion, repeatedly threw himself down in front of my client, whose progress was interrupted and whose feet unavoidably came into contact with the witness’s torso – repeatedly.”

police beating ken tsang

Photo: Stand News.

But this was not to be. We had forgotten why the persons involved, strongly resembling policemen, had carted Mr Tsang off to a dark corner in the first place. Mr Tsang had annoyed them mightily. In an act some would describe as folly and others as symbolic purification, Mr Tsang allegedly stood on a ledge (I write to be useful in schools) and emptied a large plastic bottle of “liquid” on a body of men passing underneath who also strongly resembled policemen but, mark you, were not the same alleged police officers being charged with tumbling over Mr Tsang a little later in the dark. There was talk, at the time, about what the liquid may have been – and if it was what you’re thinking, that filled bottle would have needed quite a posse of donors. In any event, these men had been grievously wetted, 15 of them to be precise, incontrovertibly victims, and I wonder how the case was put together.

‘Listen up you men. Come forward if you felt any wetness. Constable Leung, how about you?’

‘I felt the faintest spot on my hair, sergeant. It could have been a bird.’

‘That’s fine. You’re in.’

ken tsang case

Photo: HKFP.

Other opportunities to gather adversaries together are being waited upon by the Justice Department, even if some of the parties involved have to wait for the others to be arrested. There is the elderly gentleman who was injured in the paramilitary-style burglary of his house on the Peak recently. He will have to wait till the burglars are caught before he too can be prosecuted for having pushed violently against a crowbar being held by a defendant to feel his way in darkness through a strange house, entered in error through a window in a moment of unexpected transcendence.

Likewise the human remains from robbed graves in Taipo last week must wait to be charged until the robbers are caught and can explain to the court that the remains erupted from the concrete casings and assaulted them as they were taking a post-prandial stroll down the hillside. So messy was the process that small quantities of gold were caught in their clothing as they fled.

The government is also keen to bring philosophical adversaries under one roof and in their cases, on a long term basis until everyone sees eye to eye and the knife at their throat or chooses to leave the building. We have seen this beginning most impressively at Hong Kong University, where people who have grave doubts about the value of a liberal education are in charge and where the academic impulse to do what you think is best is being supplanted by the political obligation to do what is thought best.

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In this spirit, the solicitor who read out the court eviction order to Occupy protestors in Nathan Road, and another one who sees limits to free speech and hangs to the right of the Heung Yee Kuk which spawned him, both now sit on the governing body of Lingnan University. Soon there will be an announcement of the appointment by the Chief Executive of two bailiffs to the Council of HK University of Science and Technology.

“I want to get hold of the trouble making students by the neck and strangle the little ******* before we evict them” said one when asked about how he saw his role. There is one area, the judiciary, in which this convergence of attitudes under one roof is not yet occurring and could so easily be arranged. The Chief Executive appoints all the judges. He appoints all the members of the Judicial Services Commission which secretively recommends judicial appointments. It is said that no such recommendation has ever been contradicted by a CE or Governor but then again the rejection of Johannes Chan as Pro Vice Chancellor by the HKU Council was unprecedented. So what is keeping CY Leung?

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Harmonious Hong Kong brings adversaries together for a fair cop-out