04/28/2020, 13.07
HONG KONG
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Pro-democracy protests: Judge removed after sympathising with pro-China stabber

Judge Kwok Wai-kin caused a stir after justifying attacker who wounded three pro-democracy protesters. He compared the three to “terrorists”, claiming that despair was behind the attacker’s "abnormal" act. Activists fear that Beijing is manoeuvring Hong Kong judges.

 

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – A Hong Kong judge, Kwok Wai-kin, has been removed from protest-related cases after he expressed sympathy for a tourist guide who stabbed three pro-democracy protesters and compared the latter to "terrorists”.

Last August, during anti-extradition protests, Tony Hung attacked three pro-democracy activists with a meat cleaver as they put up posters in the Tseung Kwan O area, leaving one in serious condition.

Last Friday, in reading the sentence of 45 months in prison, Judge Kwok claimed that only despair drove the attacker to carry out the "abnormal" act because protests had prevented him from working and making a living.

According to Kwok, Hung was the victim of the tense situation that had developed in the city and that he did not want to violently impose his political beliefs on the three activists.

On Sunday, Kwok was replaced by Judge Justin Ko in another protest-related case because of his remarks in favour of Tony Hung.

Since protests began in June 2019, the anti-extradition movement expanded its demands, calling for democratic reforms, greater autonomy from Beijing, and an investigation into the violent police response.

Activists fear that China is trying to stir Hong Kong judges in trials involving pro-democracy sympathisers. Recent report suggest that local judges have received orders from Beijing not to acquit any protesters.

According to the Hong Kong bar Association, the Chinese government has no oversight authority over Hong Kong's internal affairs. Specifically, Article 22 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law stipulates that Beijing cannot interfere in the affairs of the autonomous region.

Under the "one country, two systems" principle, the former British colony will retain a certain degree of political and economic autonomy from mainland China until 2047.

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