21 October 2016
Junius Ho has refused to take down this photograph from his Facebook page. Photo: Facebook/Junius Ho
Junius Ho has refused to take down this photograph from his Facebook page. Photo: Facebook/Junius Ho

Police to investigate solicitor for taking selfie at High Court

Solicitor Junius Ho Kwan-yiu is being investigated for allegedly breaking the law, after he posted a selfie of himself in front of Court No. 28 at the High Court on his Facebook account, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Friday.

To allegations that he had violated the Summary Offences Ordinance, the former Law Society president made several responses Thursday, insisting that he was only sharing his feelings on social media and that no offense had been committed.

Ho said what he had done was no different from lawyers taking pictures inside court at their admission ceremonies.

But after learning that a police have begun an investigation, he said he would remain silent.

However, he insisted he will not delete or withdraw the photo. 

Under the Summary Offences Ordinance, any person who takes or attempts to take any picture in a courtroom or in a court building, or in the precincts of the building in which the court is held, shall be liable to a fine between HK$250 (US$32.20) and HK$2,000.

A Department of Justice representative said no photography is allowed inside courts under normal circumstances.

There are exceptional cases, such as after a legal appointment ceremony, when the participants are allowed to take pictures at the public waiting area.

The League of Social Democrats and Hong Kong Indigenous said they reported the illegal act to the police and condemned Ho, who is still a member of the Law Society council, for committing an offense as a legal professional.

LSD vice chairman Raphael Wong Ho-ming said he plans to file a complaint to the Law Society.

Thomas So Shiu-tsung, vice chairman of the society, refused to comment on individual cases but said the commission of an offense by a solicitor doesn’t necessarily put his professional status at risk.

The society’s disciplinary committee could decide to launch an investigation on its own or in response to a complaint.

Ho was present at court when one of his firm’s clients, developer David Li Yam-pui, applied for bail pending appeal in a case in which he was convicted and sentenced to three years in jail for conspiracy to defraud the Lands Department in relation to the construction of small houses in the New Territories.

Kevin Yam Kin-fung of the Progressive Lawyers Group said that, while the nature of Ho’s act was not serious, given several controversial remarks he made in the past, he is not a fit and proper person to be a council member of the Law Society.

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