Hong Kong justice minister slams personal attacks on judges

Natalie Wong
·2 min read

Hong Kong’s justice minister on Wednesday slammed personal attacks on judges, a day after graffiti emerged accusing a former magistrate of bias towards anti-government protesters.

The graffiti that appeared in Kowloon City on Tuesday evening called former Eastern Court magistrate Stanley Ho Chun-yiu a “dog judge”.

“Decisions made by judges should not be judged merely by personal preference,” Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said.

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“Any personal attacks on judges and acts of contempt as what happened yesterday are not acceptable to the government.”

She also called on people to look at judges’ reasoning in their rulings objectively before discussing the decisions.

Former Eastern Court magistrate Stanley Ho. Photo: SCMP
Former Eastern Court magistrate Stanley Ho. Photo: SCMP

On Tuesday evening, police received reports that red graffiti in Chinese appeared on the walls outside two residential buildings in Kowloon City. Officers also found papers printed with Ho’s photo that described him as “a judicial tumour” lying scattered in the area.

“Dog judge Stanley Ho Chun-yiu. Police arrest people, but the dog judge releases people,” one graffiti read.

The force classified the case as criminal damage following a preliminary investigation, but no arrests were made.

In an increasingly polarised Hong Kong society, activists from both sides of the political divide have urged the public to file complaints against judges whose conduct they think favours their rivals in protest-related hearings.

Among the cases that drew the ire of the pro-establishment bloc was one in August, in which Ho acquitted 34-year-old protester Chan Man-ho, who had been charged with “possessing anything with intent to destroy or damage property”, as he did not feel “safe” relying on evidence submitted by the police witness.

Hong Kong judge barred from protest cases after hailing knifeman

Being accused by pro-government politicians and the Chinese state media of bias towards anti-government activists, Ho faced several complaints over eight protest-related cases he presided over.

Earlier this month, the judiciary said complaints for six of those were dismissed, two were set aside until the conclusion of a Department of Justice application to review the sentences in those cases.

The former Eastern Court magistrate was assigned as deputy registrar of the High Court in September, amid speculation he had been sidelined. But the judiciary insisted the move was not related to his previous rulings.

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