Former leader of the now banned Hong Kong National Party, Andy Chan, was acquitted on Saturday of two counts of assaulting police officers. The pro-independence leader was also cleared of charges of illegal assembly linked to a demonstration in Sheung Shui last year.
A magistrate at the West Kowloon Magistrate’s Court handed down the judgment citing the prosecution’s inability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Chan was the person identified in footage taken during the protest last July.
“This case shows us that there have been indiscriminate arrests and accusations, and I am fortunate to have been acquitted,” Chan told reporters after leaving the courthouse. “But many others are already harassed by these indiscriminate arrests and accusations, even if these prosecutions are ultimately unsuccessful.”
“No matter where we are Hong Kongers, in prison, in the UK, in the US or in Hong Kong anywhere, we have to persist and survive,” he said. “I hope that any Hong Konger in any corner of the world will survive and continue to work towards our common goal for the future.”
“Today, I think Hong Kong is not at its worst. We’re far enough from the worst, ”Chan said. “How could there be intact eggs under an overturned nest?” Everyone in Hong Kong will have to face their tribulations, it is my belief. ”
Chan was charged with participating in an illegal gathering in Sheung Shui on July 13, 2019. He was also charged with hitting a police sergeant’s helmet from behind.
In a 24-page decision, a magistrate ruled that the prosecution had failed to identify beyond a reasonable doubt that the individuals shown in the footage taken at the protest were the same person. Since both individuals wore generic black clothing with everything but their eyebrows, glasses and ears covered, the magistrate ruled that there were not enough distinct and identifiable features to identify them.
Chan is the founder of the Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), which was the first company to be banned under the Companies Ordinance since the 1997 handover.