HK drops charges against WTO protester

Hong Kong, February 15:

Hong Kong’s department of justice has dropped charges against an anti-globalisation protester arrested during clashes at last year’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting, a lawyer said.

Defence lawyer Martin Lee said he was told by the department that Yang Kyung-kyu, one of three South Koreans charged with unlawful assembly, would be freed due to insufficient evidence. “He shouldn’t have been charged in the first place. Now they realised they have no evidence to press charges against him,” Lee said.

Yang, president of the Korean Federation of Transportation, Public and Social Services Workers’ Unions, as well as the other two protesters are currently in their home country after being released on bail. Lee said Yang will not be required to come back to Hong Kong, while the other two will return to face charges in their trial set for March 1. The Justice Department declined to comment as legal proceedings are ongoing. Yang, was one of 14 protesters — 11 South Koreans, a Japanese, a Taiwanese and one from mainland China, arrested during the December 17 clashes. Hong Kong prosecutors have dropped charges against 11 protesters also due to insufficient evidence.

Police used pepper spray, fire hoses, tear gas and bean bag projectiles to fight off the demonstrators who broke through police cordons, sparking off Hong Kong’s worst street violence

for decades.