Lawmaker off hook over phone incident

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 January, 2002, 12:00am

Police have decided not to prosecute a lawmaker who handed a mobile phone to an arrested demonstrator so he could speak live on a radio talk show last May.

The decision was made after the Department of Justice found there was not enough evidence to press charges.

Police Commissioner Tsang Yam-pui, however, said information on the incident involving legislator and solicitor Andrew Cheng Kar-foo would be passed to the Law Society.

Police warned in May they might take legal action against Mr Cheng for obstructing an officer while carrying out his duties.

Mr Cheng was said to have passed a mobile phone to a demonstrator who had been arrested on May 9 during the Fortune Global Forum so he could be interviewed live on Commercial Radio's Teacup in a Storm.

Police later took the phone from the demonstrator, Sunny Leung Chun-wai, and said it was illegal for someone under arrest to make outside contact.

Mr Cheng said: 'I think the Department of Justice made the right decision. I and my counterparts in the profession cannot see how I breached the law.'

He said while it was his duty to fight for his clients' rights, he understood law enforcers might hold a different view of his action.

'I welcome the force passing the case to the Law Society to seek a clearer guideline. I don't see how I've breached the existing code of practice, but I agree there may be some grey areas. I'll respect any possible new code of practice,' Mr Cheng said.

Tony Liu Kit-ming, chairman of the Local Inspectors' Association, which earlier planned to write to the Law Society querying the professionalism of Mr Cheng, also welcomed the force's decision in handling the case.

'Whether there will be disciplinary action is not important as the most important thing is that the Law Society will introduce some guidelines or mechanism to monitor its members,' he said.