A Hong Kong judge has given prosecutors permission for contempt of court proceedings against a jailed political activist and three other men after it was alleged they breached a ban on revealing personal details of police officers. But Mr Justice Russell Coleman on Thursday slammed the “significant and almost wholly unexplained” delay by the justice department over the start of the proceedings against Joshua Wong Chi-Fung and the other men. Wong is alleged to have flouted a court-imposed 2019 ban on posting officers’ details online, known as doxxing. He was accused of using his Facebook accounts to repost a thread from the LIHKG forum that contained personal details of the policeman who shot and injured a protester with his service revolver on November 11, 2019 at the height of anti-government protests. The post, alleged to have been put up on August 15, 2020, was also said to have breached an anonymity order granted to the officer after the shot protester, Chow Pak-kwan, was prosecuted. Chow was in August convicted of three charges, including an attempt to steal the officer’s revolver, and was remanded in custody for sentence. Police identified Wong’s alleged breaches two days after the post’s publication, the same day Beijing loyalist media attacked the 26-year-old activist for alleged harassment and intimidation. But it was not until May this year that the justice department asked the High Court to approve contempt proceedings against Wong, who is at present remanded in the maximum-security Stanley Prison for sentence for subversion after he indicated he would plead guilty under the national security law. Police also alleged two other men had violated the court injunction and anonymity order and another had doxxed the officer, but contempt proceedings only began more than 20 months after officers ware said to have spotted the breaches of the law. Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong wins appeal to reduce jail sentence by 2 months Applications for permission to start contempt proceedings are usually dealt with in writing, but Coleman called for a hearing on Monday to express his “real” concerns about the long delay. Coleman, despite giving the go-ahead to the department, warned that an unjustified delay to the start of legal proceedings could be regarded as “oppressive” and an abuse of process. “At some point, a line needs to be drawn under past events,” Coleman said. “In my view, if the court takes the view that its process is being used in a way which threatens its integrity, the court is entitled to take steps to protect that integrity,” he explained. “The courts are the guardians of proper process. The courts are independent, must continue to be independent, and must continue to be seen as independent.” Joshua Wong, 3 others jailed over unauthorised Tiananmen vigil in Hong Kong Coleman said he was persuaded that permission for contempt proceedings should be given because of the serious nature of the allegations. But he added his mind remained open on the possible effects of the delay on the four defendants. Contempt of court can result in immediate imprisonment, but sentences are suspended in some cases.