In second case in three weeks, woman arrested for taking photos in Hong Kong courtroom
Police source says suspect was speaking unintelligibly and claiming she had been consulting a psychiatrist
Police arrested a woman on Thursday for snapping photos inside a Hong Kong courtroom weeks after a tourist was jailed for seven days and slapped with a hefty legal bill in a similar case.
A witness who was at the scene but preferred not to be named told the Post that the Mandarin-speaking woman was suspected to have taken two pictures during a drug trafficking hearing before deputy High Court judge Mr Justice Poon Siu-tung in courtroom 27.
A police source familiar with the matter said the suspect, 51, also spoke Cantonese and holds a Hong Kong identity card. It is uncertain whether the woman has permanent residency in the city.
When police arrested her, she was speaking unintelligibly, the source said, adding the woman claimed she had been consulting a psychiatrist. She was later released.
While the photographs did not capture any individuals, the source noted, the force plans to pursue the matter under the Summary Offences Ordinance. Section 7 of the ordinance prohibits photography in courtrooms or court buildings. An offence is punishable by a fine of up to HK$2,000 (US$254).
Just three weeks ago, on May 23, Tang Lin-ling, of Zhejiang province, had her phone seized in courtroom 28 after she was spotted taking pictures and uploading some images to a page on WeChat, a social media platform.
Tang was later found guilty of criminal contempt of court, and jailed for seven days on June 4. Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai also ordered her to shoulder the Department of Justice’s cost for bringing her to court, a bill amounting to HK$197,260.
According to a source present in court on Thursday, Poon and the lawyers were unaware that the suspect had taken pictures during the proceeding.
“When the woman left the court, she was intercepted by the security guards,” the source said.
The suspect was described as slightly taller than five feet and sporting short hair and a light-coloured outfit.
The police source said the woman notified the court clerk herself that she had taken two photos. Thereafter she was arrested.
A judiciary spokesman said it did not comment on individual cases, but it would take follow-up action in light of the suspected acts, including alerting police if necessary.