Hong Kong’s senior barrister Martin Lee and barrister Ng Yau-yee were convicted of “unlawful assembly” in the 8.18 rally case on the 16th of this month, and were given suspended sentences. The Hong Kong Bar Association is investigating the incident, according to Hong Kong Free Press, an independent English-language media outlet, on Wednesday. A pro-Beijing group also sent three people to the Bar Association on Saturday to submit a petition demanding that Li and Wu be disqualified as barristers.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Li and Wu are reportedly being investigated by the Bar Association. According to a report by Free Asia today, HKFP quoted the Hong Kong Bar Association as saying, “The Executive Committee is concerned about the matter of the convictions of the two members and is now conducting an investigation. (The matter about the convictions of the two members have been drawn to the attention of the Bar Council which is in the course of (The matter about the convictions of the two members have been drawn to the attention of the Bar Council which is in the course of an investigation into the matter)”.
The Hong Kong Bar Association is governed by an “Executive Committee”. According to the Bar Association’s website, if a barrister violates the Code of Conduct, the Bar Council’s Executive Committee will refer the complaint to the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal for an inquiry. The Disciplinary Panel operates independently and its members are appointed by the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal. If a barrister is found guilty of professional misconduct, the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal has the power to issue disciplinary sanctions, including fines, suspension or formal disbarment. Any information about the complaint, disciplinary investigation or decision will not be made available to the public, nor will the Bar Association respond to public inquiries.
According to Free Asia, the Hong Kong Bar Association has recently come under pressure from Beijing, following a press release from the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong on Sunday (25) criticizing its chairman Xia Boyi as an “anti-China politician”. The government must take action if there are complaints or situations where the Bar Association violates Hong Kong law.
A pro-Beijing group also sent three people to the Bar Association on Saturday to submit a petition demanding the disqualification of Li and Ng.