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Lawbreaking violates the rule of law



The violence and vandalism in recent months sparked a crisis of confidence of our rule of law. The so-called “justice lawbreaking” or “civil disobedience” is never justified under the law. I urge all of you not to engage in any illegal activities.

The Court of Final Appeal in its judgment (FACC8-10/2017) pointed out that: (1) unlawful assemblies involving violence, even a relatively low degree, will not be condoned and may justifiably attract sentences of immediate imprisonment in the future; and (2) little weight will be given to the mitigation that the offending act was committed in the exercise of constitutional rights or acts of civil disobedience because the fact of a conviction will necessarily mean the offender has crossed the line separating the lawful exercise of his constitutional rights from unlawful activity subject to sanctions and constraints.

There are suggestions that deliberate lawbreaking might be considered to achieve objectives, however, this would bring a wrong concept of the rule of law. The escalated violence and vandalism in the last few months have also undermined the perception of the rule of law among the public. My colleagues and I would promote and publicise the correct concept of the rule of law to the citizens through different channels. In analysing the current situation, I hope that we all could remain reasonable and objective by keeping an open mind, being informed and considering all relevant facts before coming to a conclusion.

Our rule of law has been highly regarded, and such an achievement was not easy to come by. We should all join hands to cherish and safeguard our rule of law. Abiding by the law is one of the many obligations that ought to be observed by the public. Law exists in practice but it should not only be practised by lawyers, judges and governments. More importantly, the rule of law should be observed and respected by the community as a whole. The Government would continue to be strongly committed to upholding the rule of law.

December 22, 2019

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