Sandwich brigade makes Hong Kong judiciary suffer

All is well when courts deliver judgments they favour, all hell breaks loose when they don’t. Their hypocrisy is damaging one of the city’s institutional pillars

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 November, 2017, 12:36am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 November, 2017, 12:42am

Well, let’s see. As offensive weapons go, do you consider animal entrails or soggy sandwiches more dangerous? I admit the former is more disgusting. On the other hand, a spoiled tuna fish sandwich isn’t a pretty sight either. But in a court of law, throwing either of them at people you despise as an act of protest probably doesn’t make much of a difference when it comes to conviction and sentencing.

‘CY’s smug face invited me to throw sandwich at him’

Anti-government activist Avery Ng Man-yuen was found guilty of assault for throwing a sandwich towards former chief executive Leung Chun-ying. He missed Leung but hit a policeman instead. The chairman of the radical group League of Social Democrats, Ng was sentenced to three weeks in jail but released on bail pending an appeal. Predictably, his colleagues and fans blasted the court for political persecution and ridiculed its sentencing throughout the “yellow ribbon” social and news media.

But let’s consider a legal precedent. Last year, three men were jailed nine to 18 weeks for throwing entrails at Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, owner of the anti-communist newspaper Apple Daily, during the Occupy protests in 2014. Predictably, the opposition cheered and no one came out ridiculing the court ruling. Why? Because Lai was one of them, someone who has given millions to various opposition and anti-government parties and causes over many years.

In fact, Ng had himself to blame for the court outcome. Those who attacked Lai had proper legal representation. Ng represented himself. At one point, he told the court he threw the sandwich at Leung because the ex-leader’s “very smug” expression had encouraged him to do it. While Leung haters might sympathise with Ng, that kind of testimony would not have endeared a defendant to a judge.

Three weeks’ jail for Hong Kong activist behind sandwich attack on former leader CY Leung

This has become a clear pattern with the opposition. If the courts deliver judgments they favour, it’s all fine and dandy. If not, all hell breaks loose just to discredit what is in fact a very independent judiciary. The case of Ng is a minor one. But it’s no laughing matter when they have maligned the courts, with help from the “me too” political and media circuses, over the jailing of three student protesters for the very long sentences of six to eight months.

The opposition’s double standard and hypocrisy are breathtaking. They are sadly damaging the judiciary, one of the city’s key institutional pillars.