Today’s must-read, part 1 of Part 1 of Samuel Bickett’s piece on NatSec Judge Kwok Wai-kin, who is presiding in the Stand News trial despite having been suspended from political cases in 2020…
…after he praised a defendant who stabbed three peaceful protesters, then compared the victims to terrorists.
From the intro…
In a city where anti-establishment speech is heavily suppressed, [former Stand News editor] Chung’s eloquent defense of the free press has garnered public praise and exposed the prosecutor questioning him, Laura Ng, as inept.
Yet throughout Chung’s testimony, the prosecution has violated the defendants’ rights by producing, day-after-day, hundreds of documents that it never gave the defense—a violation of common law and the Prosecution Code which, in egregious cases, warrants halting the proceedings permanently. But each time Ng has revealed another set of unproduced materials, the judge in the case, Kwok Wai-Kin, has quickly dismissed objections from defense counsel. Over and over, he has not only ordered the trial to proceed, but even allowed the withheld documents to be used to cross-examine Chung.
How or why have some civil servants and judges turned into zealous Beijing loyalists in recent years? They are not from religiously devout ‘red’ backgrounds. Some could be under pressure (if, say, higher powers have dirt on them). Some may have a chip on their shoulder about perceived past slights (eg cops without college degrees being sneered at by snooty AOs). In this case, Bickett thinks it just comes down to career opportunism.
Referenced in the piece – last year’s US Congressional commission list of Hong Kong prosecutors involved in political cases.
On cultural matters: SurrealHK – aka Tommy Fung – does the municipal waste depot art gallery abolition; and Wang Dan joins the calls against Donny Yen’s whatever-it-is in this year’s ever-tedious Oscars.