Hong Kong courts

Mainland Chinese woman accused of taking photos in Hong Kong courtroom remanded in custody after failing to post bail

Warrant issued for arrest of Tang Lin-ling after she missed deadline to post HK$50,000 cash bail

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2018, 3:27pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 May, 2018, 11:50pm

A mainland Chinese woman accused of taking photos in a Hong Kong court was on Tuesday remanded in police custody, after she failed to post cash bail of HK$50,000 (US$6,400) as ordered by a judge.

Tang Lin-ling was told last Friday by Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai to come up with the sum within 72 hours and not to leave the city, as he granted prosecutors more time to decide whether she would face charges. The High Court learned on Tuesday Tang did not meet the deadline and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

She was found at 2.15pm outside the JW Marriott Hotel, near the High Court in Admiralty, after police officers tried visiting her reported address and found it did not exist.

Entering the dock for the first time, Tang kept her head down throughout the brief hearing.

“Anything you wish to say?” Chan asked.

“No,” Tang said quietly through a Mandarin interpreter.

Prosecutor Derek Chan Ching-lung revealed that a cautioned statement had already been taken from Tang and a warrant had been obtained to examine her phone.

“[Investigators] are looking at it as we speak,” he said.

A further update would be provided to the court on Wednesday, when Tang was expected to return for transfer to jail custody.

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Tang came under the spotlight last Wednesday when she was spotted allegedly snapping photos while prosecutors were playing footage to open their case against five men accused of contempt for their actions during a court-ordered clearance of Mong Kok demonstrators on November 25, 2014.

Her phone was immediately confiscated by Chan. It remained unclear what images Tang had captured with the device.

Tang told the judge during subsequent inquiries she was legally trained and wanted to learn about the city’s legal system, but court officers had “failed to provide instructions and help”.

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Last Friday, Tang was told to return to court on June 15, when the Department of Justice was expected to reveal whether she would be charged.

The incident was the fourth suspected case of courtroom photography in four months. It came days after Madam Justice Anthea Pang Po-kam had all members of the public removed during the high-profile Mong Kok riot trial of localist Edward Leung Tin-kei after a photo showing at least four of the nine jurors was sent to the judiciary.

In the name of justice, jurors must be free from interference

Photography is prohibited in all Hong Kong court buildings, as is the publication of such photos. Signs are on each floor and inside each court as reminders.

Section 7 of the Summary Offences Ordinance prohibits photography in courtrooms or court buildings, an offence that could attract a fine of HK$2,000.

Those found in serious breach of the law may also be sued for contempt of court, which is punishable by a jail term.