The head of the Productivity Council was cleared yesterday of threatening to fire a union chairman if a sacked union member staged a protest against his dismissal. Kowloon City Court found Wilson Fung Wing-yip, 45, the council's executive director, not guilty of breaching an Employment Ordinance provision that guarantees members or officers of a union the right to participate in union activities. He had been summonsed by the Labour Department for allegedly deterring Ho Chi-wing - earlier made redundant - from staging a demonstration by threatening to fire the council employees' association chairman, Ho Yee-wai. Acquitting Fung, Magistrate David Thomas said there were only two witnesses to the conversation in which Mr Fung allegedly issued the threat - Mr Fung and Ho Chi-wing - and no recordings were made. The two had competing recollections, and both were equally plausible. Mr Thomas criticised prosecutors, saying they should not proceed with weak cases. They could have drafted charges differently and had brought much unnecessary material. He said Mr Fung's account sounded more logical, but it was not for him to say which version he preferred. Mr Ho had made it clear he believed his redundancy was a sham and that he had been the target of Mr Fung's ire over his involvement in the employees' association. 'It is an opinion that [Mr Ho] holds, but it is only his opinion,' Mr Thomas said. The court heard the council dismissed Mr Ho, an audio-visual assistant since 1993 and union representative, on October 17 last year. Mr Ho said that one week later, Mr Fung said that if he and the association's legal adviser, Kwong Chi-kin, a member of the Federation of Trade Unions, staged a demonstration, he would fire union head Ho Yee-wai. Giving evidence yesterday, Mr Fung said it was he who had been threatened, by Mr Kwong during a meeting on October 23 last year. Mr Fung said Mr Kwong reminded him his predecessor had left the council because he had not maintained good relations with the Federation of Trade Unions, and Mr Fung could meet the same fate. He recalled that Mr Kwong said he would stage a demonstration if Ho Chi-wing's redundancy was not revoked. Mr Fung said Mr Kwong started working on frontline labour activities after unionist Chan Yuen-han lost the Legislative Council elections and backed down from frontline work last year. Mr Ho's case was Mr Kwong's first since taking up the mantle, Mr Fung said, adding that Mr Kwong asked him to help him save face. The executive director denied allegations that he threatened to fire the union chairman or that he had ever said 'If you play tricks, I will play tricks too', as Ho Chi-wing claimed. Mr Thomas said the prosecutor hinted the redundancy was a sham but did not bring clear evidence. A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said the Labour Department had conducted a full investigation. The usual legal criteria governing prosecutions were applied in the decision-making process. If the magistrate concluded the case had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt, it was open to him to acquit, the spokeswoman said. After the ruling, Mr Ho said he worried not that Mr Fung's acquittal would affect a coming hearing of the same matter in the Labour Tribunal, but that the Productivity Council might fire his wife, who was working there.