Central News Agency (Taiwan): Hong Kong Falun Gong Practitioners Succeed in Their Appeal, Court Overturns Convictions against Them
(Clearwisdom.net) Central News Agency reported on May 5 that Hong Kong Falun Gong practitioners filed an appeal to the top court on their conviction. The top court ruled today that the police's arrest was illegal and overturned convictions against the practitioners who were accused of assaulting and obstructing police. Hong Kong Falun Gong spokesperson was very happy for the judgment and believed it played a positive role to protect peaceful protesters.
The case stemmed from a March 2002 protest by 16 Falun Gong practitioners on the pavement outside the People's Republic of China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong. During the protest, the police demanded that they leave but the order was ignored. Then the police arrested the 16 practitioners and accused them of blocking the public pavement. In addition, eight of the practitioners were accused of deliberately assaulting and obstructing police. Two practitioners were accused for beating police officers.
However, Falun Gong practitioners refused to accept the charges and filed an appeal. The Appeal Court overturned the obstruction conviction but upheld the other two charges. Five practitioners continued to file an appeal to the top court.
The verdict issued by the top court today pointed out that police cannot implement legal arrest without a warrant unless they are under two conditions: First, they suspect someone committed crimes that can be punished by imprisonment. Secondly, they have to think it over and have logical reasons to suspect crimes being committed.
The verdict pointed out that the police's action in this case was based on information provided at the meeting prior to the action, as well as what they saw on the spot. Although the police suspected that someone obstructed the public area, they did not have rational reason to suspect that, because the police did not consider that the practitioners were exercising their constitutional rights, nor did they consider whether their protest was reasonable or not. No evidence on the spot showed that the practitioners presented any unreasonable obstruction.
The top court ruled that the police's arrest was illegal and therefore their subsequent actions in the police department against the defendants cannot be considered as normal duty enforcement. Thus their accusation of "obstructing and assaulting" police is untenable.
Hong Kong Falun Gong spokesperson Mr. Kan Hung-cheung said he was happy about the verdict, which he believed to play a positive role in protecting peaceful protesters.