A Petition by Members of the Hong Kong Legal Profession

We, the undersigned, demand that Dennis Kwok, Legislative Council Member elected to represent the Legal Functional Constituency, do condemn the violence and all actions that erode and harm the Rule of Law and do dissociate from violence carried out in the name of protests.
On 8 December 2019, rioters threw petrol bombs at and set fire to the Hong Kong High Court and Court of Final Appeal – the very institutions and symbols representing Hong Kong’s time-honoured and cherished Rule of Law. Such actions were merely the latest outrage against civil order in our city since the anti-extradition crisis and the ensuing riots which began six months ago. For months, our city has suffered unprecedented and utterly unacceptable violent behaviour and criminal acts, resulting in death and horrific physical injuries to our citizens as well as wrecking incalculable havoc and destruction to public and private property and to businesses.
The arson on the courts is the final straw and constitutes a direct challenge to and rejection of the law and the Rule of Law, which the legal profession shall protect and uphold. Such outrageous acts must and should be unequivocally condemned by members of the legal profession.
We hereby condemn in the strongest possible terms the illegal and violent acts of these rioters and reiterate our opposition to the rioters as well as their violent actions.
We note that Dennis Kwok, our Legislative Council representative for the Legal Functional Constituency, merely expressed “regret” at the use of petrol bombs thrown against the very symbols of the Rule of Law in our city. He failed to condemn such violence and illegal acts and even saw fit to lay the blame for the burning of our courts, quite absurdly, on the government.
Mr Kwok’s accusation that the government is seeking resolution of ‘political disagreements’ in the courts is without merit or justification. All criminal acts, including those carried out in the name of political protests are, and should be, prosecuted and adjudicated in the courts.
The arguments advanced by Mr Kwok, calling such outrageous illegal and criminal activities as mere ‘political disagreements’ and his further attempts to place the blame on the government are, in our view, not only unacceptable, but displays a fundamental inability to differentiate between right and wrong.
We hereby condemn the irresponsible rhetoric employed by Mr Kwok. We further demand that he, on behalf of the legal profession, unconditionally and unequivocally condemn and dissociate himself from all violence and criminal acts carried out in the name of protests.
Lawyers Hong Kong
12 December 2019

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