Avery Ng's T-shirt antics 'could have caused accident'
Activist Avery Ng Man-yuen's unwarranted antics during President Hu Jintao's visit last year could have had serious consequences although no member of the public was within 200 metres of the area where the incident occurred, the Tsuen Wan Court heard yesterday.
Ng, who is the League of Social Democrats' vice-chairman, was arrested and charged with causing a public nuisance after he threw his T-shirt off a footbridge in a bid to catch Hu's attention on June 29 when the president was visiting to mark the 15th handover anniversary.
In the incident, protesters from the league had been scuffling with the police when Ng cast his white T-shirt - with a message demanding a probe into blind activist Li Wangyang's death - off the bridge on to the highway below where Hu's convoy was about to pass.
Senior police constable Kwong Kwok-fai, who rode one of the six motorcycles ahead of Hu's car in the convoy, was one of five police witnesses summoned in the hearing yesterday.
Kwong said he saw "a piece of white cloth drifting down" as he steered to the right to avoid it.
A second police witness, police superintendent and convoy team chief Ng Ho-fung, who was in a police car ahead of Hu's vehicle, said his car ran over the shirt.
The Department of Justice's counsel said Avery Ng's act could have caused serious traffic congestion or even casualties.
Yet under cross-examination by barrister Arthur Yip Chi-ho representing the activist, both policemen admitted the shirt neither delayed nor disturbed the convoy's journey to Wan Chai.
No member of the public was affected because at least 700 metres of the highway's eastbound lanes had been closed for the convoy to pass, the court heard.
Based on the witnesses' accounts, no public vehicle was allowed within 200 metres of Hu's car at the time of the incident.
Yip stressed that the case against Ng was lacking in basis as the public had not been affected from his act of casting his shirt off the bridge.
But the Department of Justice's acting senior public prosecutor Andrew Li Hay-chit said: "It was very lucky that no one was injured or died in the incident. If the shirt had covered [Kwok's] helmet, it could have caused the motorcycle to flip over."
The court will judge on March 26 whether Ng, who pleaded not guilty, has a case to answer.