• Press Release

Charges Against Protesters in Hong Kong Are A “Chilling Warning”

July 31, 2019

Hong Hong Legislative members and pro-democracy activists Ted Hui (centre L) and Kwok Ka-ki (centre R) speak to the media outside the Eastern District Court in Hong Kong on July 31, 2019, in support of protesters who were charged with rioting during recent clashes with police. - Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters appeared in court on July 31 after being charged with rioting, setting the stage for further unrest in a weeks-long crisis that has rocked the global financial hub. (Photo by Isaac LAWRENCE / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP/Getty Images)
In response to 44 people in Hong Kong being charged with “rioting” in connection to protests over the weekend, Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said:

“By using such vague charges against pro-democracy protesters, the Hong Kong authorities seem intent on sending a chilling warning to anyone considering taking part in future protests.

“While there was violence over the weekend, the definitions of illegal assembly and rioting under Hong Kong law are so broad they fall far short of international standards. It is highly questionable that individuals facing these sweeping charges would have a fair chance of defending themselves at trial.

“With these ambiguous charges combined with the repeated use of excessive force by police and the outright banning of some protests, the authorities are showing a flagrant disregard to the right to peaceful assembly.

“Many people in Hong Kong will today be questioning why charges have been swiftly brought against pro-democracy protesters yet no one involved in the vicious beatings at Yuen Leung station more than a week ago has so far been charged.

“The police were again too slow to respond when fireworks were recklessly thrown from a passing car at pro-democracy protesters in Tin Shui Wai last night.

“The violent scenes during last weekend’s protests, were in part because Hong Kong police chose to inflame a tense situation rather than deescalate it. We urge the police to adopt a less confrontational approach to future demonstrations and instead facilitate the right to peaceful protest.”

Media: contact Mariya Parodi, [email protected] to schedule an interview