Pro-democracy lawmaker Au Nok-hin has been charged with two counts of assaulting police using a loudspeaker at a protest in July.
Au and Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam were arrested on August 30 on suspicion of obstructing the police in Mong Kok during a clearance operation in the early hours of July 8. The accusation was dropped when the pair reported themselves to the police on Thursday. Au was instead charged with assaulting police with a loudspeaker which was too loud, hurting officers’ ears.
“I must stress that I have never had any intention of assaulting police officers,” Au said. “We will face the prosecution with bravery.”
His case will be mentioned at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on October 17.
Both lawmakers were in Mong Kok in the early hours of July 8 after a massive anti-extradition bill demonstration the day before. The march was held to inform mainland Chinese visitors about the ongoing protest movement. Organisers said that it drew an estimated 230,000 participants.
The now-soon-to-be-withdrawn bill would have allowed case-by-case fugitive transfers to China. Since June, large-scale peaceful protests have morphed into sometimes violent displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment, democracy, alleged police brutality, surveillance and other community grievances.
The Department of Justice had said that charging Au and Tam with obstruction of police would be improper prosecution.
“There was not enough evidence to charge me [with obstruction]. Like I said before, it was an abuse of power. They didn’t even say sorry,” Tam said.
Tam said the decision showed that it was lawful for lawmakers to question police use of force at protests.
Hong Kong Free Press relies on direct reader support. Help safeguard independent journalism and press freedom as we invest more in freelancers, overtime, safety gear & insurance during this summer’s protests. 10 ways to support us.