ALL WTO protestors leave Hong Kong free of charge!

30 March, 2006
It has been well over 3 months since the final day of the WTO's MC6 here in Hong Kong. However, for those of us on the street voicing our opposition to the WTO, our struggle in Hong Kong did not finish with the end of the conference.

Regrettably, the HK government's decision to detain and arrest more than 1000 primarily peaceful protestors on the evening of December 17, 2005 prolonged the MC6 struggle against the WTO here in Hong Kong as countless individuals, both locally and abroad, continued to work tirelessly to see that all of those detained were released without charge.

After December 19th, only 14 remained charged. In early January, Hong Kong society stood in solidarity with the hunger striking WTO Political Prisoners, often referred to as the HK14, through daily candle light vigils, culminating in over 100 local activists joining a hunger strike and sit-in at the Kwun Tong court for the full 24 hours before the January 11th hearing. Internationally supporters wrote letters to the HK government, organized rallies at Chinese consulates, participated in parallel hunger strikes, and even sent participants to Hong Kong to show their solidarity. Slowly justice was redeemed, as 11 of the 14 were release free of charge.

During the pretrial review on February 6th, the charges for Mr. Yang Kyung Kyu were dropped for lack of evidence. Supporters in Hong Kong and abroad continued to rally around Mr. Park In-Hwan and Mr. Yeon Il-Kwon whose hearing started on March 2 and ended on March 22. On the last day of the trial, the Judge declared that Mr. Park had no case to answer and was released immediately.

Today, one week after the end of the trial and three months after the WTO ministerial, our struggle to see that all WTO protestors leave Hong Kong free of charge has come to an end! At 11:30 this morning, the Judge, though noting the quality of testimony given by the police witnesses and speaking positively of the police actions on the night of December 17, condemned the subsequent identification process employed by the police that denied Mr. Yoon, and the others, a fair and independent identification. It was on these grounds that the Mr. Yoon's charges were finally dismissed.

The struggle against the HK government that started at the convention center last December finally came to a close this morning at the Fanling courtroom. However, let it be said that the struggle against the WTO, the true target of December's protests, is far from over.