Hong Kong’s top court was vandalised on Tuesday, with paint splattered at the base of a pillar of the historic building.
Police were notified by a security guard, who said a man threw purple paint from a cup near the main entrance of the Court of Final Appeal Building on Jackson Road in Central at about 4.10pm.
The culprit fled, leaving paint splashed across an area on the ground about three metres in diameter, and also tainting the base of a pillar.
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A paper cup from fast-food chain McDonald’s was found in a nearby flower bed. No arrests have been made.
The court complex is also known as the Old Supreme Court Building. Its exterior was classified as a city monument under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance in 1984.
The building housed the former Supreme Court from 1912 to 1983.
During the Japanese military occupation of Hong Kong from 1942 to 1945, the building became the headquarters of the Kempeitai, or military police, of the Imperial Japanese Army.
From 1985 to 2011, the building was designated as the Legislative Council. The Court of Final Appeal has occupied the premises since September 2015.
The city’s courts and judges have come under increasing scrutiny in recent months amid a polarised political landscape, with both the opposition and pro-establishment camps slamming multiple protest-related rulings.
Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li warned in an 18-page statement last month against politicising the judiciary, stressing any criticism of the courts and judges without proper grounds would be detrimental to public confidence in the system.
The city’s judiciary facilities have also been targets of attacks from suspected anti-government protesters over the year.
During a New Year’s Day mass rally, insults about a High Court judge, who sent three localists to prison over the 2016 Mong Kok riot, were spray-painted on a wall outside the court. The Chinese characters for “Rule of law is dead” were also written. The act of vandalism drew immediate rebuke from the Department of Justice and the city’s legal professionals.
In early December, protesters also hurled petrol bombs at the Court of Final Appeal Building and the High Court in Admiralty. The entrances of both buildings were set alight and blackened.
A month before, a similar incident occurred at Sha Tin Court when a flower bed was set on fire, damaging some trees there.
In early November last year, the former Tseun Wan Court on Tai Ho Road, which had ceased operations from 2016, also came under a petrol bomb attack, with a tree damaged. The incident was the first of such acts against judiciary structures since the civil unrest, sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, erupted last June.
This article Hong Kong top court vandalised with paint splatter at base of pillar first appeared on South China Morning Post