The Public Order Ordinance should be amended to spell out under what conditions people breaching the law can be prosecuted, according to the Bar Association. Chairman Ronny Tong Ka-wah, a Senior Counsel, said there was a wide gap between the provisions of the law and the discretion police were able to exercise in enforcing it. He said: '[The amendment] could say people can be prosecuted if a rally, for which the organisers have not made a prior application, leads to violence. There is no need to repeal the whole ordinance and the Government should not stand firm against making any amendment. Both sides can discuss it.' There should be some limitation on staging processions, because they could affect other people using the streets, but 'if the system deters people from holding a procession, it would breach the Basic Law', he said. Under the ordinance, protest organisers must notify police seven days in advance of marches of more than 30 people or assemblies of more than 50. Marches must receive a notice of no objection, but if the notice has not been received 48 hours before the protest, it is assumed it can go ahead. President of the Law Society, Herbert Tsoi Hak-kwong, argued that there was no need to amend the ordinance, and said he believed political considerations had not entered into the decision not to charge the 16. 'No law can be made water-tight. The Government should be allowed to exercise its discretion,' he said. A government source said that in 90 per cent of the 6,600 assemblies and demonstrations held since the handover, the police had been told in advance. Of the 408 demonstrations where there had been no prior notification, only 10 had been investigated and referred to the Department of Justice. The remainder resulted in an oral or written warning. The guidelines provided to the police in enforcing the law were clear, the source said. 'For demonstrations and assemblies without prior notification, if it is only a technical breach - say, not enough time - they would be let go with a warning if the act is an orderly one. If the breach is on purpose, the police will take further action to collect evidence and ask for instruction from the Department of Justice.' The source said the decision not to prosecute would not harm police morale. 'Criticising and insulting the police force would harm morale far more than difficulties faced in law enforcement.' The Government ruled out making public the report on police operations at the June 26 right-of-abode protest, saying this might prejudice a Complaints Against Police Office inquiry into whether excessive force had been used.