Finance chief John Tsang comes out of his shell at 'egg-throwing' trial

'If I could have foreseen it, I would have caught it', finance chief testifies

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 November, 2014, 12:55pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 November, 2014, 2:46am

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah brought an unexpected light touch to a solemn court hearing when he took the stand at the trial of a man accused of throwing an egg at him.

Asked by magistrate So Wai-tak to produce his identity card, Tsang surprised the courtroom by saying that he had forgotten to bring it with him. His assistants later brought it from his office.

Tsang was testifying at Eastern Court against a man accused of flinging an egg at him during a forum in Java Road, North Point, in December last year. Derek Chan Tak-cheung, 25, of the League of Social Democrats, pleaded not guilty to one count of common assault.

Defence lawyer Douglas Kwok King-hin said the finance chief could have foreseen the egg being thrown, citing humorous remarks Tsang made shortly after he was pelted. Chan had been standing about nine metres from Tsang when the egg was thrown.

"If I could have foreseen that, I would have caught it," countered Tsang.

The court viewed television footage taken on the day of the incident, in which Tsang jokes that a doctor had advised him not to eat too many eggs. "Luckily I'm not wearing a good suit today. I appear to have foreseen the incident," he says in the footage.

Asked in court why he wore a light green T-shirt and tracksuit that day, Tsang said he had been teaching fencing at his alma mater, La Salle College, before heading to the forum.

The light green T-shirt was one of Tsang's favourite items of clothing, which he had bought near Boston in the US when he was on vacation there more than 10 years ago, the court heard.

"I like it very much. I feel sorry that it has been confiscated for a year [as prosecution evidence]."

Defending himself, Chan said that he had been throwing eggs onto the stage without aiming at anyone in particular.

Citing Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, he said that eggs represented people who fought against their government. "Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg," Murakami once said.

Chan said that it was common for protesters to throw eggs at politicians in foreign countries, and such an act was not an attack but rather a way to express a view.

The magistrate adjourned the case to next Friday for a verdict.


The South China Morning Post does not make reports of ongoing jury trials available for comment by our readers.  This policy applies to all such trials and is intended to ensure Hong Kong’s laws on contempt of court are observed.  Readers will be able to comment on these stories as soon as the trial concerned ends.