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Hong Kong courts

History of legal disputes in China behind Zhejiang woman in Hong Kong illicit photos conviction

Tang Lin-ling spent 10 days in custody in 2015 and subsequently sued Beijing police

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 June, 2018, 7:39pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 June, 2018, 11:01pm

A woman found guilty of contempt for taking illegal photos inside a Hong Kong courtroom has previously filed several lawsuits in mainland China, including one against Beijing police after she was detained for 10 days, a search of judicial reports has found.

Zhejiang province native Tang Lin-ling sued the Chaoyang sub-bureau of the capital’s police force in 2015, seeking compensation of 500,000 yuan (US$77,882) for a penalty she incurred for smashing a tea set in a dispute with the boss of an art company backed by America’s powerful Rockefeller family.

On Monday Tang was found guilty of criminal contempt of court in Hong Kong after snapping photos of a politically sensitive trial and uploading them to Chinese social media. She was sentenced to seven days in prison and told to pay HK$197,260 (US$25,100) in fees.

The 34-year-old has a history of legal disputes on the mainland. According to Beijing court judgments, Tang described as “illegal” the 10 days she spent in custody after breaking the tea set during a March 2015 quarrel with Xiong Feng, the CEO of her former employer, Rose Rock Culture.

Xiong called police, who later decided Tang was responsible for the damage, estimated at 500 yuan. Unhappy with the outcome, Tang sued the police officers, alleging improper handling of the case.

Her lawsuit was rejected, but she then appealed to an intermediate court and a higher court in 2016. Both dismissed her case.

Illicit photos cost mainland Chinese woman HK$197,260 and seven days in jail after Hong Kong court case

An employee of Rose Rock Culture, who gave his surname as Xiong, said Tang had worked for the company for less than two months as a translator.

“I heard she joined because she admired our boss from the Rockefeller family,” the employee said. “But she was not content with her salary and clashed with the CEO.”

Tang had graduated from an Australian university, the employee added.

According to media reports, Tang’s father said his daughter had also filed for compensation of 50,000 yuan in 2013 in a lawsuit against an investment firm in Zhejiang following a dispute with the company.

Tang worked for that business for about three months, without a contract, according to court records. She then successfully sued the firm for her salary, commission and reimbursements.

Tang’s younger brother told Chinese-language media that she had qualified as a lawyer in Shanghai about half a year ago, but the database of the city’s Bureau of Justice did not confirm this.