Ex-district councillor Li Chi-wang fined HK$6,000 for violating gathering ban during Thai protests in 2020

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Lee Chi-wang

8th June 2023 – (Hong Kong) In 2020, a large-scale protest erupted in Thailand, prompting several Hong Kong pro-democracy district councillors to gather outside the Thai consulate in Hong Kong to protest. Among them was Lee Chi-wang, who was the chairman of the Sha Tin District Council at the time. Li and others were subsequently charged with violating the gathering ban, and Li denied the charge of participating in a prohibited group gathering. However, the Eastern Magistrates’ Court ruled today that Li had indeed violated the ban and fined him HK$6,000.

The temporary judge presiding over the case stated that the incident occurred between 10.56am and 11.03am on 21st October, 2020. The number of people gathered at the scene increased from around 10 to over 30. The police urged them to disperse, and the people on the scene immediately separated. The police did not issue any tickets at that time, but the group reassembled shortly afterward. The police warned them again at around 11.10am, but the group did not disperse. As a result, the police issued tickets to the remaining individuals.

The judge noted that the police did not enforce the ban immediately, indicating a certain degree of tolerance. Journalists were even allowed in the area to cover the event. The judge also considered that Li was not the organiser of the gathering, that his behaviour was restrained and non-violent, and that he had taken some anti-epidemic measures. However, Li was still a district councillor at the time of the incident, and despite repeated police warnings, he insisted on participating in the gathering. As a result, the judge fined him HKD 6,000, which he must pay within three months.

During the mitigation hearing, Li’s defence revealed that he had borrowed money to maintain the operation of his community service centre, and that he still had several outstanding loans. Li is currently working as a part-time waiter in a restaurant, with a monthly income of about HK$ 10,000.