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Thursday, November 13, 2014, 18:05

Enforcement delayed as court refines order

By Kahon Chan/
 Enforcement delayed as court refines order

Tents set up by protesters are seen at a protest site in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on Nov13, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez)

HONG KONG - The High Court is refining its directions for injunctions against blockades of streets in Mong Kok and outside CITIC Tower.

A further delay in the sealed order's issue, as a result of change in text, makes enforcement impossible before Saturday.

Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung in his ruling handed down on Monday, explicitly defined the role of police in assisting bailiffs to executive civil orders.

Persons suspected of criminal contempt were directed in the Monday ruling to be brought before the High Court "as soon as practicable".

The judge called a hearing on Thursday afternoon to ensure his directions did not conflict with statutory criminal procedures, as police might need to deal with offenses other than criminal contempt of court.

When a person obstructs a bailiff from executing a court order, he not only risks contempt of court, but also probably commits the offense of obstructing a public officer from performing his duties.

An arrested person cannot be detained for more than 48 hours for the obstruction offense. Police, on the other hand, cannot detain a person merely for criminal contempt.

After hearing submissions from all parties, the judge said in the court that he needed to think further about the wording of the text. A sealed order will be available later on Thursday or early on Friday.

Justice Au, during his exchange with barristers, also reassured them that his order did not intend to give extra powers to police or override existing statues. Nothing can stop police from detaining a suspect and bringing him to a magistrate for other offenses, he said.

As the applicants' lawyers expected to advertise the sealed orders in newspapers before their execution by bailiffs, they anticipated action to be taken no earlier than Saturday.

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