Hong Kong justice department orders convicted protesters to pay over HK$1.7M in police medical costs News
Sguidu Faiem Saegoum, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Hong Kong justice department orders convicted protesters to pay over HK$1.7M in police medical costs

The Hong Kong Department of Justice ordered two convicted protesters to each pay over HK$1.7 million in damages on Friday, local media outlet Hong Kong Free Press said in an exclusive report. The amount covered all costs associated with two police officers’ injuries caused by the protesters’ assault in a 2019 protest.

The government relied on section 25 of the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance, which grants the employer a right of action against the third party for the recovery of damages which the employer is obliged to pay as a result of the accident. The damages covered the costs associated with the injuries of two police officers, including the officers’ paid sick leave of 336 days and 52 days respectively, the court’s assessment of the officer’s 1% permanent partial incapacity, temporary incapacity and legal costs. If the protesters fail to pay the damages within 14 days, the government can initiate legal proceedings to claim the damages, interests and extra legal costs.

In 2020, Leung Pak Tim and the other unnamed protester were convicted of rioting and causing grievous bodily harm with intent when they were participating in a riot that took place in 2019. Leung pleaded guilty to both offenses and admitted that he repeatedly kicked and assaulted a police officer with an umbrella. The trial judge jailed Leung for 4 years, reasoned that general deterrence and punishment in sentencing riot offenders overrode Leung’s personal circumstances, mitigation, age and lack of criminal records because the court must communicate to the public that “such conduct will not be tolerated in this community.” Accordingly, the trial judge refused to consider Leung’s family background.

Five years ago, the anti-extradition bill amendment protest broke out across the city. Over 10,000 people were arrested but over 7,000 arrested people were still waiting for the beginning of legal proceedings as of the end of 2022. The Hong Kong Commissioner of Police Raymond Siu once promised that the government would announce the government’s plan to handle the backlogged prosecutions, but both Siu and Chief Executive John Lee later stated that setting a timeline to prosecute was not practical and potentially violated the rule of law.