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Hong Kong courts

Woman arrested after allegedly throwing coins at High Court judges during hearing in Hong Kong

Same person was held last week but later released after she was seen taking a photo in court before a criminal trial started

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 8:23pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018, 8:36pm

A woman caught taking pictures in a Hong Kong court last week was removed from the High Court on Wednesday after she allegedly threw coins at judges from the public gallery during a hearing.

None of the three judges was hit and security guards quickly escorted the woman, 50, out of the court. She was also banned from entering again.

A judiciary spokesman declined to comment on the incident but denied there was a security breach.

Police said she was arrested for contempt of court and had been held for questioning.

The drama took place late morning in fourth-floor court No 4 of the High Court building in Admiralty.

Mr Justice Andrew Macrae, vice-president of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice Derek Pang Wai-cheong and Mr Justice Ian McWalters were hearing the appeal of former Marine Department assistant director So Ping-chi against his conviction over his involvement in the Lamma ferry tragedy in 2012.

So was given a 16-month jail term in 2016 for misconduct in public office but was granted bail pending appeal.

As the hearing was proceeding, the woman allegedly threw some coins in the direction of the bench. The coins landed on the floor near the court clerks’ desk, in front of the judges’ bench.

After being escorted out, the woman then tried to enter other courts, with guards in pursuit, but she was stopped. She eventually managed to get into the second-floor court No 38, where High Court Registrar Lung Kim-wan was handling a case.

Another woman arrested for taking photos in Hong Kong court

The woman claimed she had been unfairly treated in a court case several years ago. Lung reportedly told the woman he could not help her.

Police were called and the woman was eventually taken to another room for questioning. She was taken away from the building at around 1.30pm.

Last week, the woman attended a criminal trial at the High Court and was seen taking a picture before the hearing began. She was arrested but released after a preliminary investigation.

Allowing photography in court ‘could help prevent future riots’

Earlier, mainland Chinese woman Tang Lin-ling was sentenced to seven days in prison for contempt of court and was ordered to pay more than HK$197,200 (US$25,100) in legal fees after she was caught taking pictures in court during a hearing. She was deported back to the mainland.

Since late January, security has been stepped up at the High Court building after a chopper-wielding man threatened a judge during a hearing last October. Now members of the public accessing floors with courts have to go through a metal detector and get their bags checked. They are also not allowed to bring in drinks.