Hopes and fears: Zhang Dejiang visits Hong Kong

Why destroy my yellow balloons? Hong Kong activist seeks judicial review of police action during Chinese state leader’s visit

Chan Ho-wun from League of Social Democrats says his freedom of expression and right of ownership of private property were affected

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 August, 2016, 4:04pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 August, 2016, 10:36pm

A member of the League of Social Democrats is seeking a judicial review of a police decision to destroy yellow balloons when the pro-democracy group was on its way to stage a demonstration during Chinese state leader Zhang Dejiang’s Hong Kong visit in May.

The claim came two days after aspiring lawmaker Nathan Law Kwun-chung mounted a legal challenge against the force’s move to set up security zones in the city during Zhang’s three-day trip.

In a writ filed at the High Court on Wednesday, Chan Ho-wun said his freedom of expression – a fundamental constitutional right – and his right of ownership of private property were directly affected after police seized and destroyed four yellow balloons carried by him and his fellow party members. The encounter took place on May 18, when the activists were on their way to a demonstration area designated by police and were stopped by policemen near Harbour Road’s China Resources Building.

Zhang, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, was then scheduled to attend a reception followed by dinner at Wan Chai’s Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in the vicinity.

Chan claimed the group brought the yellow balloons, each approximately 0.91metre in diameter, with them as props for the demonstration. “The yellow colour was meant to pay homage to the ‘Umbrella Movement’ in 2014,” he said in the writ.

“The police officers were acting outside of the ambit of their powers,” Chan said, referring to the seizure and the destruction of the balloons. He is asking the court to declare the police decision illegal.

On Monday, student leader Law applied for a judicial review of a police decision to set up security zones at the time on the grounds that the measures were a “disproportionate restriction” to his constitutional right.

Law is among 15 candidates vying for six Hong Kong Island Legislative Council seats in the coming elections.

Click here for a full list of candidates in the Legislative Council elections