Chief Executive Carrie Lam rebuked a pro-Beijing politician on Tuesday, saying that his comments deriding Hong Kong judges and courts were “unacceptable.”
Lam was asked about comments made by Stanley Ng Chau-pei, the chairman of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions. Ng called judges at the top court “sinners of society” for allowing the appeal of 13 land activists last Friday.
“The decision by the Court of Final Appeal led some people to criticise judges or even make personal attacks, and I express my regret,” Lam said. “This is not the first time I have told everyone this, and this also has nothing to do with political stance.”
Lam said that inappropriate comments concerning the courts – meaning derisive attacks on judges or the legal system – were “unacceptable.”
“This causes major damage to our legal system and the spirit of the rule of law,” Lam added.
Hong Kong’s top appeal court ruled last Friday in favour of 13 land activists seeking to reduce their sentences, and allowed them to walk free on the same day.
Ng published a Facebook post saying that the judges were hurting the young people of Hong Kong.
“The judges wanted to be the good guys and released [the activists], condoning their crimes. This isn’t protecting the youth, this is killing the youth!” Ng wrote.
“These criminals definitely will not repent, and will be a ticking time bomb for society. Their lack of punishment will also confuse the truth and poison a generation of young people. The judges have become the killers of youth, the sinners of society!” he added.
Ng’s post drew criticism from the Professionals Guild, a group of pro-democracy lawmakers. The group said Ng ignored the fact that the appeal was targeted at sentencing, not conviction, and asked Ng to apologise.
In response, Ng said the Professionals Guild was trying to restrict his freedom of speech, and that judges at the Court of Final Appeal were guilty of “professional misconduct.”
On Tuesday Ng further accused the media of twisting his words. When asked by an RTHK reporter about Lam’s comments, Ng said he was misquoted and that he did not know what the chief executive was referring to.