JUDGE Pao may have become the symbol of justice and fair play for many local television viewers, but the huge popularity of this Taiwan-made show has led to a few dirty tricks among the broadcasters. Last night marked a clash of two Judge Pao's at the same time on different stations, after TVB decided to reschedule its usual nightly showing to 7.25 pm, the time that ATV had advertised for the screening of the series. An ATV spokesman said yesterday this situation was likely to continue for many weeks as both battle for the consistently high ratings already achieved by TVB's regular 9.10 pm dramatisations of the 11th century judge's court trials. About two million people have tuned in each night since the series started last year. He criticised the move by TVB - which was announced on Sunday - saying it was ''unfair''. ''I think this is unfair to us, and unfair to the Hong Kong audience. We were within our rights to acquire the show, and we put it into our programming when there was a natural opportunity. ''For TVB there has been a very major reshuffling, and it means that people who would have enjoyed seeing Judge Pao twice will now have to miss one, or use a video.'' He said ATV had been approached by the programme's Taiwan agent, who told them that TVB had not bought the exclusive rights to the programme, and that it was therefore still available for ATV as well. This is not the first time the Judge Pao series has caused scuffles between the TV channels, the ATV spokesman said. ''We signed up the Judge Pao character - Kam Chiu-kwong - in January for a separate series. But as soon as TVB heard about that they contracted the entire cast to do some extra episodes created for the Hong Kong audiences,'' he said. In a statement last night, TVB programme controller Stephen Chan Chi-wan confirmed the last minute rescheduling. ''It is purely a programming strategy,'' he said. The judge, Pao Jeng, lived in Anhui province about 900 years ago. Many legends have grown up about him and the bizarre cases he solved. Justice, Pao-style, means upholding the rights of the innocent and bringing the guilty to justice - usually with a guillotine. In the past, the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority has taken the position that conflicting programming is purely a matter for the broadcasters and is not something the Government will take a part in.