Activist Ken Tsang said Thursday that amnesty for Occupy activists and police officers accused of assaulting protesters was not necessary, stressing the importance of upholding justice and the rule of law.
Tsang spoke to reporters outside Sai Kung’s Pik Uk Prison after serving his five-week sentence for pouring liquid over police officers during the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests.
“I spent the past month peacefully. I used the time to self-reflect, think about the past and ponder about future plans,” Tsang said.
He also commented on the recent suggestion by Democratic Party leader Wu Chi-wai that the chief executive should – as a gesture to reconcile opposing camps – pardon everyone involved in the Occupy movement, including protesters facing prosecution and seven police officers recently jailed for assaulting Tsang.
“I don’t quite understand or agree with his idea. I doubt this kind of reconciliation is necessary, because while I know that society is divided, the rift can only be mended by addressing the root of the problem,” Tsang said.
The activist said the root of the problem was Beijing’s refusal to allow full democracy in Hong Kong.
He added that amnesty was not necessary because activists engaging in civil disobedience were aware of the possible legal consequences.
“Besides, police assault [during Occupy] was not merely a matter of them fulfilling a political mission or something that can be resolved through amnesty. It was an obvious case of assault,” he said.
“The rule of law is more important. Restoring justice is more important. Reconciliation through amnesty is not something I will consider at the moment.”
Wu has since apologised for his suggestion following heavy criticism from the public.
Tsang also said he has not decided whether he will run for the upcoming Legislative Council by-election which will likely take place to fill two seats left by Youngspiration politicians Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung Chung-hang.
“But I will actively consider any ideas that carry on the spirit of civil disobedience,” he said.
He added that the matter of running in the by-election is a “complicated” question that depends on who else may join the race. He said he will discuss it with other people who may be eying the vacancy.
Tsang was handed the five-week jail term last year but filed an appeal against it. He withdrew his appeal last month after seven police officers were jailed in February for beating him during the Occupy protests. The seven officers have since appealed against their convictions.