Hong Kong protests: High Court rejects union’s bid to intervene in legal challenge by former city leader CY Leung to identify teachers guilty of misconduct

Jasmine Siu
·3-min read

The High Court has rejected a trade union’s bid to intervene in a judicial challenge from former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying, who is calling for authorities to identify teachers found guilty of professional misconduct over the anti-government protests of 2019.

Mr Justice Anderson Chow Ka-ming on Tuesday said he appreciated the good intentions of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, which offered to provide real-life examples of how educators were affected when they were identified.

The union’s counsel, Jeffrey Tam Chun-kit, said those teachers received harassment calls and worried about their safety, with some requiring medical or psychiatric attention because of doxxing.

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Tam also submitted that the move to identify educators would have a huge impact on the classroom environment, creating a labelling effect that could damage teachers’ careers.

Former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: Nora Tam
Former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: Nora Tam

But counsel John Hui Kei-cheung, for the judicial review applicant, 803 Funds, which Leung founded in 2019 to trace demonstrators involved in criminal activities, questioned whether those complaints from teachers about the consequences of identification were substantiated or related to the protests.

Most of teachers ‘were professional during protests’, despite misconduct complaints

The judge also noted the concerns raised by the union were “pretty obvious” and already submitted by the Education Bureau, the putative respondent to the intended judicial review.

“I do not see much assistance can be provided by the union,” Chow said, in dismissing the bid to intervene.

The 803 Funds group applied for a judicial review last September after the education minister refused to provide the teachers’ details and the names of their schools.

Hundreds of teachers and their supporters gather in Central to demonstrate against the government’s handling of complaints involving educators accused of protest-related misconduct. Photo: K. Y. Cheng
Hundreds of teachers and their supporters gather in Central to demonstrate against the government’s handling of complaints involving educators accused of protest-related misconduct. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

The court filing showed the group had been demanding the details since February last year, but was repeatedly rejected by the bureau.

Lawyers for the group said the bureau erred in withholding the names, as it would go against the rights or interests of parents and members of the public “to know the truth about what was going on in a school”.

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They also argued that disclosure of misconduct would have a “beneficial effect of encouraging the school and the teacher concerned to make [an] improvement”.

A spokesman said the union respected the court’s decision, and would continue to follow developments in the case, providing support to teachers in need.

Full arguments will be heard in the same court on May 20.


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