Under Section 30(1) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (Cap. 201), any person who, while knowing or suspecting that an investigation in respect of an offence alleged or suspected to have been committed under Part II is taking place, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, discloses to (a) the person who is the subject of the investigation (the subject person) the fact that he is subject to, or any details of, such investigation; or (b) the public, a section of the public or any particular person the identity of the subject person or the fact that the subject person is subject to, or any details of, such investigation, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of $20,000 and to imprisonment for 1 year.
香 港 大 律 師 公 會 及 香 港 律 師 會 關 注 傳 媒 報 導 於 2020 年 1 月 1 日 在 高 等 法 院 大 樓 上 具 名 針 對 法 官 的 辱 駡 性 塗 鴉 。 有 關 塗 鴉 令 人 髮 指 並 應 予 以 嚴 正 譴 責 。
《 #基本法 》 第 八 十 五 條 規 定 ， 香 港 特 別 行 政 區 法 院 獨 立 進 行 審 判 ， 不 受 任 何 干 涉 。 法 院 所 作 出 的 判 決 ， 其 分 析 和 理 據 均 詳 細 刊 載 於 判 決 書 中 。 如 要 挑 戰 法 院 的 裁 決 ， 上 訴 才 是 恰 當 的 程 序 。
有 關 辱 罵 性 言 論 暗 示 司 法 裁 決 是 基 於 或 受 到 政 治 考 慮 影 響 而 作 出 ， 這 是 完 全 沒 有 根 據 的 。 任 何 基 於 法 官 在 履 行 司 法 職 責 時 的 決 定 ， 而 侮 辱 或 威 嚇 法 官 和 任 何 企 圖 向 法 官 施 加 公 眾 壓 力 的 行 為 ， 都 是 對 法 治 和 司 法 誠 信 的 侮 辱 。
香 港 律 師 會 及 香 港 大 律 師 公 會 強 烈 譴 責 這 些 違 法 行 為 ， 並 重 申 其 致 力 捍 衛 香 港 的 法 治 和 司 法 獨 立 的 共 同 決 心 。
Joint Statement of The Hong Kong Bar Association and The Law Society of Hong Kong on graffiti concerning a judge on High Court Building
The Hong Kong Bar Association and The Law Society of Hong Kong note media reports referring to the abusive graffiti against a named judge on the High Court building on 1 January 2020. The graffiti are outrageous and firmly condemned.
Article 85 of the Basic Law provides that the courts of Hong Kong shall exercise judicial power independently, free from any interference. The analysis and reasoning on which a court makes a decision are set out in detail in a judgment. The proper procedure for challenging a court’s decision is by way of an appeal.
Abusive comments implying that judicial decisions were made or influenced by political considerations are wholly unjustified. Any attempt to insult, threaten and bring public pressure on a judge because of decisions made in the course of performing judicial duties is to be deplored as an affront to the rule of law and judicial integrity.
The Law Society of Hong Kong and The Hong Kong Bar Association strongly deplore these criminal acts and reiterate their joint commitment to defend the rule of law and judicial independence in Hong Kong.
Dennis Kwok : personal attack on judges is regrettable
Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, who represents the legal sector, expressed only “regret” and called the conduct “inappropriate” after learning about the personal attack on a judge.
However, Kwok at the same time alleged that while the government has the responsibility to safeguard the rule of law, abuse of power by authorities and indiscriminate use of violence by the police, both unchecked, are what is actually damaging the rule of law.
Under Section 60 of the Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 200), any person who destroys or damages any property belonging to another shall, upon conviction, be liable to imprisonment for up to 10 years.
Contempt of court
Personal attacks, insults and even threats against judges and judicial officers would severely undermine the rule of law and put pressure on judicial independence. Contempt of court covers a wide range of conducts. Scandalising the court or judicial officers may constitute contempt of court, and once convicted, shall be punishable by fines and imprisonment.
#香港律師 – 新年新希望，緩和香港的緊張氣氛
Lawyers HK – New Year Resolutions to Ease Hong Kong’s Tensions
Hong Kong’s social unrest has been continuing for months, exposing deep fissures within our society. As we enter the New Year and a new decade, we urge all Hong Kong residents to come together and seriously attempt to find a solution. We must all actively take steps to work towards the following to ease Hong Kong’s tensions:
1. Strive for Peace, Stop Violence
We should all strive for peace. Violence is never an option. The “we burn, you burn” slogan has not resulted in any progress towards utopia, but instead caused death, serious personal injuries, destruction and damage.
The list goes on. The cost is incalculable and continues to rise. This must stop.
Each and every one of us should condemn violence and do our part to stop the violence, destruction and disruptions caused by “protesters”. Silence in the face of violence is acquiescence and gives implicit support to those who perpetrate these heinous acts. The protesters’ concerns cannot be addressed by violence. Instead, they should be dealt with via genuine communication as we propose below.
2. Uphold the Rule of Law, Abide by the Law, Seek the Truth with Patience
The rule of law is paramount in Hong Kong and this cannot be upheld if we choose to comply with some laws but not others. We call upon protesters not to break the law. We also ask the police to use only the minimum necessary force when bringing to justice criminals who break the law.
We should keep an open mind in processing and understanding facts and context and avoid jumping to conclusions prematurely without verifying material facts or while the judicial process is ongoing. We demand those in a position of influence, such as politicians, the media and teachers, to ensure that their public assertions and commentaries are based on facts and not mere suspicions or speculations.
3. Do Justice through Proper and Speedy Prosecution and Court Processes
Justice must be done through proper prosecution and court processes. Any case of alleged abuse or illegality, whether on the part of protesters, police officers or other persons, should be dealt with properly under existing procedures. Further, thousands of persons have been arrested. We should push for increasing resources and other means to speed up the prosecution and court processes for offenders, such as special riot courts which were used in the UK to handle the 2011 riots.
4. Engage in Genuine Communication
We urge the Government to properly take time to embark on and continue with genuine communication and consultation with Hong Kong residents on important issues relating to the unrest, and take steps to allow trust and confidence to be re-built with people. We hope that after meaningful communication, the Government will have a good grasp of the views of different participants and come up with a proposal for the way forward which will be acceptable to Hong Kong residents.
We set out in Appendix 1 some important issues for communication and in Appendix 2 some parameters regarding the platforms for communication.
5. Embrace Diversity, Avoid Emotive Language and Insular Tendencies
Hong Kong prides itself as a rational, forward looking, melting pot of diverse cultures, languages and people. We must avoid having our views distorted by anger and hatred and we must constantly remind ourselves to be rational and accept each other as people having an equal stake in our city. It is easier to only speak to or be close to those who are similar to you or who agree with you and your views. This close mindedness is the path to ugly xenophobia. We urge everyone to cease using any action and language that inflames, incites or vilifies people or groups of people. We should be united with all families and friends and welcome the diversity among us.
Some Important Issues for Communication
(i) Verify Material Facts
Many views have been formed based on unverified facts, rumours, allegations or even fake news. Many people tend to only focus on facts which reinforce their own views, and discount or ignore facts which work against them. We should stop making serious allegations before facts are verified or the courts have handed down judgments.
We should communicate and agree upon a list of all material facts relating to the unrest and specify which of those facts have not yet been verified or agreed. Assistance should be sought from victims of violence or other serious illegal acts, the media, public transport operators, property operators and the Government to provide material facts.
(ii) Media and Fake News
News can be untrue, inaccurate, incomplete, misleading or even fake. Media can be politically biased. Unprofessional or biased media operators are extremely poisonous to our society. We should discuss whether, and if so what, reforms to the regime regulating the media industry are required, for example, the following:
– Licensing and ongoing monitoring of media operators
– Licensing and ongoing monitoring of reporters
– Operation of RTHK
– Guidelines on impartial and accurate reporting
– Fake news law
(iii) Education Sector
An alarming number of students and people below 18 years old have been arrested. Bullying and segregation are really happening in some schools. Politically-biased teachers who exhibit intolerance to perspectives different from theirs could improperly influence students and in turn incite fear, anger and hatred. Certain teaching materials may be politically-biased. Students may also not have a proper understanding of the histories of China and Hong Kong and basic legal concepts. We should discuss how the education system and related laws and regulations should be reformed, for example, the following:
– Licensing and ongoing monitoring of schools
– Licensing and ongoing monitoring of teachers
– Licensing of teaching materials
– General education syllabus
– Learning the histories of China and Hong Kong
– Learning basic legal concepts
– Guidelines on impartiality and avoidance of bias or incomplete information
(iv) Prosecution and Court Processes
– Granting of bail
– Political bias in prosecution and court processes
– Appointment, retirement and removal of judges
– Jury system
– Legal aid system
– Guidelines on deterrent effect of sentencing
– Handling of complaints, investigations on alleged breaches of laws and regulations, CAPO and IPCC
– Guidelines on use of force
– Guidelines on use of tear gas
– Guidelines on display of identification information
– Laws against insulting police officers
(vi) Independent review
We should be educated on how the IPCC and an independent review committee work and how certain other riots, e.g., the 2011 UK riots and the 1967 HK riots were reviewed. We should discuss the independent review in detail, including its scope, committee’s terms of reference, membership, timing for producing report and other material aspects.
(vii) Basic Law related issues
– Dual universal suffrage regarding election of Chief Executive and Legislative Council members
– Implementing legislation for Article 23
(viii) Funding for Re-building Hong Kong
There have been concerns as to whether it is fair to use taxpayers’ monies to re-build Hong Kong following the destruction by violent protesters. We should discuss the source of funding as well as plans on how to re-build Hong Kong.
(ix) Housing, Job Opportunities, Healthcare and other issues
Some Parameters for Platforms for Communication
(i) Face-to-face discussions, if possible, at Government or other premises
(ii) Measures to reduce risk of being bullied and doxxing
(iii) A sizeable team of Government representatives
(iv) General invitation to public for expression of interests to participate
(v) If required, limit the number of participants by random sampling scrutinized by accountants or other suitable professionals
(vi) Each discussion can be in small group, with facilitator(s) (lawyers or other professionals with no political affiliations) and Government representatives
(vii) For discussions relating to a sector or group, e.g., media, education or police, representatives of that sector or group should be included
(viii) Each participant should be given a fair opportunity to talk and listen
(ix) Small group discussions are not one-off, but should continue as a series of discussions until the issues have been adequately discussed
(x) Discussions may be made public but names and other personal data of individuals will not be disclosed
今年10月，來自全球超過120個資料保障執法機關的代表在「環球私隱議會」(Global Privacy Assembly)(前身為「國際資料保障及私隱專員會議」)，就社交媒體及網上的極端暴力內容，促請社交媒體提供服務者保障其提供的服務免受濫用，並防止網上散佈極端暴力內容，正正彰顯諸如網上「起底」達致恐嚇或煽動行為亦不為國際社會所接受。
公署已去信提醒有關平台或網站營運商，高等法院已發出臨時禁制令（HCA 1957/2019），禁制任何人非法地及故意地公開警員及其家人的個人資料，以恐嚇及騷擾警員及其家人。該禁制令並禁止任何人協助、造成、慫使、促致、唆使、煽動、協助、教唆或授權他人從事上述行為。另一臨時禁制令（HCA 2007/2019），則禁制任何人非法地及故意地在基於互聯網的媒介上促進、鼓勵或煽動使用或威脅使用暴力的材料或信息，以造成香港境内任何人身傷害或財產損害。該禁制令禁止任何人故意協助、造成、慫使、促致、唆使、煽動、協助、教唆或授權他人從事上述行為。公署向有關平台或網站營運商指出，他們必須履行其法律和道德上的公司責任，即不助長或教唆違背公共利益、非法和不道德行為，避免讓其平台濫用為侵犯個人資料私隱的工具。 如平台或網站營運商故意發布或不刪除上述禁止的帖文，可能被視作為違反禁制令，而觸犯藐視法庭罪。
Date: 23 December 2019
Privacy Commissioner Provides Updates on Doxxing and Cyberbullying: Reiterating Criminal and Social Liability of Doxxers and Assisting Platforms
Since June this year, serious doxxing acts have taken place and personal data has been “weaponised”. The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong (Privacy Commissioner), Mr Stephen Kai-yi WONG provides the following updates on the latest situation of doxxing and the follow-up actions carried out by the office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD).
Doxxing by Weaponising Personal Data
The Privacy Commissioner reiterated that “section 64(2) of PDPO provides that a person commits an offence if the person discloses, without the consent of a data user who controls or is in possession of any personal data of a data subject (such as public domain or platforms), especially the person who is innocent (including the spouse and children of a doxxing victim), and the disclosure causes psychological harm to the data subject, most of which came from intimidation. Upon conviction, the maximum penalty is a fine of HK$1,000,000 and an imprisonment for 5 years”
The Privacy Commissioner also stated that online social platforms and discussion forums have legal and social responsibilities of not assisting or promoting any illegal acts of doxxing.
In October this year, representatives from more than 120 data protection authorities around the globe attended the Global Privacy Assembly (formerly known as International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners). In relation to social media and online violent extremist content, the Assembly urged social media service providers to offer service protection to protect their services from being misused and prevent the dissemination of those content online. This highlights that acts of intimidation or incitement such as doxxing on the Internet are not acceptable to the international community.
The PCPD found that doxxing targets are individuals in the recent eye-catching incidents. Personal data of the individuals and their family members would be widely circulated at online platforms immediately.Overall SituationThe PCPD received the first doxxing and cyberbullying case on 14 June. As at noon 20 December 2019, the PCPD received and discovered 4,359 related cases. Totally 16 online social platforms and discussion forums, and 2,916 web links were involved.The victims of doxxing are from all sorts of backgrounds and all walks of life with various views, among which police officers and their family members are the single largest sector of people falling victim to doxxing. Of the 4,359 complaints and cases discovered in our patrol, 1,577 cases (36% of the total cases) involved police officers and their family members. There were 180 cases of doxxing on government officials and public servants (accounting for about 4% of the total cases). In addition to public servants, there are also members of the public (accounting for about 30% of the total cases) who have stated their support for the government or the Police and were doxxed.
On the other hand, some citizens were doxxed after making online comments against the government or the Police (accounting for about 10% of the total cases). Some others were dissatisfied with the behaviour of protestors and disclosed their personal data online. Also, there are websites that encourage citizens to provide the identity of protestors for bringing them to justice (accounting for about 20% of the total cases).
PCPD’s Follow-up Actions
The PCPD has referred 1,402 cases of this nature to the Police for criminal investigation and for consideration for prosecution.A total of five people have been arrested in four cases by the Police on suspicion of contravening section 64 of PDPO, including an earlier case where prosecution was made by the Police. In that prosecution case, a man was charged with “conspiracy to disclosing personal data obtained without consent from data users”.
As at noon 20 December, the PCPD has written to the related 15 platforms 140 times, urging them to remove a total of 2,497 web links and to post warnings that netizens who engage in doxxing and cyberbullying may commit a serious offence under section 64 of PDPO. Among those web links, 1,677 web links (67%) have already been removed.
The PCPD has sent a letter to remind relevant platforms or website operators that the High Court has granted an interim injunction order (HCA 1957/2019) to, inter alia, restrain persons from unlawfully and wilfully disclosing personal data of Police Officers and/or their family members, intended or likely to intimidate or harass Police Officers and/or their family members. The order also restrains persons in assisting, causing, counselling, procuring, instigating, inciting, aiding, abetting or authorising others to commit any of the aforesaid acts. Another interim injunction order (HCA 2007/2019) also restrains persons from willfully disseminating any material or information on any internet-based platform or medium for the purpose of promoting, encouraging or inciting the use or threat of violence, intended or likely to cause bodily injury to any person or damage to any property unlawfully within Hong Kong. The order also restrains persons from assisting, causing, counselling, procuring, instigating, inciting, aiding or abetting others to commit any the aforesaid acts. The PCPD reminded relevant platforms or website operators that they are obligated to carry out legal and ethical corporate responsibility. They should not encourage illegal and unethical behaviour against public interest to avoid platforms being abused as a tool for infringing the privacy of personal data. If the platform or website operators deliberately publish or do not delete the aforesaid prohibited posts, it may be regarded as violation of the injunction and contempt of court.
After the interim injunction order came into effect, the PCPD received and found cases involving suspected violations of interim injunction order, and referred relevant cases to the Department of Justice for follow-up. As at noon 20 December 2019, 40 cases were referred.We will continue to spare no efforts in enforcing the law to curtail these harmful doxxing acts. Since some involved platforms are based overseas, the Privacy Commissioner has written to the relevant local data protection authorities seeking for international cooperation to combat the #doxxing acts.
Under Section 4(17)(ii) of the Summary Offences Ordinance (Cap. 228), any person who, without lawful authority or excuse, organizes, provides equipment for, or participates in any collection of money or sale or exchange for donations of badges, tokens or similar articles in a public place for non-charitable purposes shall be liable to a fine of $500 or to imprisonment for three months, except under or in accordance with a permit issued by the Secretary for Home Affairs.
Warmest Seasonal Greetings to all of you here !
We’ve been through a most tumultuous and difficult six months. However, through it all, one memorable good that came shining through is this chance for us to meet, chat and brainstorm digitally together.
We are honoured to know you and grateful for your ideas, comments and suggestions in our effort to bring peace, stability and rationality to our beloved Hong Kong.
Wishing you Happy Holidays, a Very Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring a bright new dawn for us all!LawyersHK
Under Section 13 of the Firearms and Ammunition Ordinance (Cap. 238), no person shall have in his possession any arms or ammunition unless he holds a licence for possession of such arms or ammunition or a dealer’s licence therefor. A person who contravenes this Section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of HK$100,000 and to imprisonment for 14 years.
Under Section 90 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (#Cap. 221), if a person has committed an arrestable offence, any other person who, knowing or believing him to be guilty of the offence or of some other arrestable offence, does, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, any act with intent to impede his apprehension or prosecution shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for 10 years.