8th August 2021 – (Hong Kong) The Special Finance Committee meeting of the Legislative Council will be held next week. In response to questions from members of the Legislative Council, the Department of Justicee stated that as of 28th February, the police arrested a total of 10,242 people who participated in anti-extradition protests. 2,521 people have been or are undergoing judicial proceedings, of which about 720 have been prosecuted for riot crimes. The Department of Justice also stated that of the 2,521 arrested, 883 should bear the legal consequences. They include 614 were convicted, 261 bind-over orders, 4 were sentenced to guardianship or protection orders, and 4 were fined for contempt of court. In addition, charges against 50 people were dropped and 186 people were acquitted.
Asked whether the current criminal prosecution progress is slow and the government will consider increasing the number of outsourced cases, the Department of Justice stated that it has been in communication with the police to follow up related cases as soon as possible and effectively. The Department of Justice emphasised that the time required for each case from the initiation of an investigation to the prosecution depends on a number of factors, such as the time required for investigation by law enforcement agencies, the amount of evidence, the nature and complexity of the case. With regard to outsourced cases, the Department of Justice stated that it will actively consider and appoint private lawyers or barristers to assist in handling cases from time to time, with the main purpose of meeting the needs of prosecution operations. In addition, the Department of Justice pointed out that all government lawyers in the Criminal Prosecution Division need to assist in handling criminal prosecutions in response to actual operational needs. As of 1st March, this year, the actual number of government lawyers in the Department was 152.