Anti-landfill growth campaigning leads to another court loss for battling Councillor

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Photo: SCMP

Renegade Sai Kung District Councillor Christine Fong has lost her final appeal over conviction for Nazi banner waving in the Legislative Council during a protest against expansion of the Tseung Kwan O landfill. Christine has fought officials and politicians over the smelly polluting landfill for many years. It is her signature issue.
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The landfill at Tseung Kwan O – the largest in Hong Kong. Photo: Clean The Air News blog

Five judges in the High Court unanimously dismissed her appeal over conviction for violating Legco rules and a $2000 fine in 2015. The previous year she had been yelling and displaying a Nazi Swastika in the public gallery during a debate on the landfills growth. The judges held Legco’s rules were proportionate and constitutionally valid. Two of Christine’s assistants were convicted with her.
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Nazi banner and shouts prompt court to fine Hong Kong councillor over landfill protest. Photo: SCMP

In a missive released since the High Court decision, Christine said she respected the judges’ ruling. “The important part of the judgement is the court held first that the right to freedom of expression was applicable. It should not be excluded by virtue of Legco having the right under the law of property to deny admittance to members of the public. In the earlier proceedings, a government lawyer told the top court that freedom of expression is not engaged (sic) to those entering Legco chamber. The judges, however, did not accept the claim that the public had no right to express themselves in the public gallery. The court’s judgement would set a good point of reference for future debates. Shall we be completely silent inside the chamber? There is no justification for banning the display of any ‘sign, message or banner’ which has no impact on or poses no harm to the public order in the Legco. We pointed out that the Lego was not provided with quantifiable information and underlying assumptions in estimating the remaining serviceable lives of landfills. This was later agreed by the Director of Audit in 2015. The LegCo however did not listen to us at that moment.”

As a legislature with powers, LegCo members should promote the resolution of conflicts, tensions and problems through open dialogue and debate, which is the importance for the stability and progress of society.

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