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Hong Kong courts

Court CCTV footage shows man with 12-inch meat cleaver before he threatened to kill Hong Kong judge

Decorator on trial for criminal intimidation and other charges went to judge’s courtroom to threaten him after having his civil claim against the police rejected on October 17 last year, court hears

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2018, 8:49pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2018, 3:12pm

A decorator on trial for intimidating a Hong Kong judge was seen on CCTV inspecting a 12-inch meat cleaver before brandishing the weapon in the High Court and threatening to kill the judge.

Security footage from the court played for the first time in public on Tuesday revealed that Yu Zulin, 53, took time to examine his newly purchased blade in between what prosecutors called “practice” strokes recorded on October 17 last year.

A close-up of the footage showed Yu striking the air in front of him in swift, forceful movements four to five times after he drew the cleaver from its clear packaging in the court building.

The District Court heard Yu was waiting for an appeal judgment at the time on his civil claim against the police that was originally heard in 2013 by Mr Justice Wilson Chan Ka-shun, the alleged victim in the present case.

‘Threatened’ Hong Kong judge says angry man brandishing cleaver in his courtroom led him to flee in fear

After he received the written judgment which ruled his appeal bid unsuccessful, Yu was seen on CCTV studying television screens displaying the day’s court list, which had the schedule and location of each judge.

Chan’s clerk, Danny Kwan Man-yu, testified on Tuesday that he first noticed Yu when he entered at about 9.50am and settled at the edge of the public gallery in the seat closest to the judge, next to a narrow passage leading to the bench.

The clerk said Chan was delivering a judgment when Yu pulled out the brown-handled knife, which prompted him to stand and point at him warning him to “wait”.

But Yu reportedly ignored him and walked towards the bench while shouting: “Chan Ka-shun, corrupt judge, I will chop you.”

The clerk said he signalled Chan with a glance towards the door, and he left through the private passage with the judge following him.

Barrister Joseph Wong Yee-yan, who was in court at the time, said an emotional Yu continued to shout very loudly while waving his cleaver after Chan’s departure.

“I was scared too,” Wong testified. “I kept my head low, I didn’t know if Chan would do anything to me or [the solicitor] behind me.”

The solicitor, Philip Tam Kew-kong, similarly commented: “I was a bit nervous because it happened very suddenly and I didn’t think it would happen in court. I was startled.”

But Yu, conducting his defence in person, countered that he only pulled out his cleaver and shouted after Chan’s departure.

The witnesses disagreed.

Yu has pleaded not guilty to three counts of criminal intimidation, criminal damage and possession of an offensive weapon.

The trial continues before Deputy District Judge Don So Man-lung.