Suspended directly-elected lawmaker Sulu Sou Ka Hou and fellow non-establishment activist Scott Chiang Meng Hin rejected their alleged aggravated disobedience charges during the first hearing of their trial at the Court of First Instance (TJB) Monday.
Sou and Chiang stand accused of aggravated disobedience in the wake of a demonstration on May 15, 2016 against the public Macau Foundation’s controversial decision to donate 100 million yuan (122 million patacas) to Jinan University in Guangzhou. The duo allegedly committed the crime of aggravated disobedience outside the official residence of Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On in a verbal confrontation with the police.
The two defendants insisted during Monday
However, a senior police officer who attended Monday’s hearing as a witness said that Sou and Chiang had disobeyed the police orders to leave the area and consequently had held an “illegal” assembly there.
The hearing was chaired by TJB judge Cheong Weng Tong, who asked Chiang and Sou – the first and second defendant respectively in the case – whether they accepted the aggravated disobedience charges against them, which they then denied.
According to The Macau Post Daily the May 2016 demonstration against the donation decision was organised by the non-establishment New Macau Association (NMA) with members from a number of small trade unions also participating. The protesters started their protest march from Vasco da Gama Garden and the demonstration was initially slated to end outside the Legislative Assembly (AL) building, as had been agreed by the police. However, the protest eventually ended at the nearby Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre as decided by Chiang and Sou – the then NMA president and board member respectively.
A total of six police officers attended yesterday’s hearing as witnesses. One of them said that Chiang, Sou and their fellow protestors walking and standing around Chui’s residence carried out an illegal assembly because they had not previously informed the police about this part of their protest activity following the assembly at the Nautical Centre.
The officer also said that Chiang and Sou did not accept the police forces’ suggestion to submit their petition to an official at Government Headquarters.
Sou was suspended from the legislature by his peers because of the aggravated disobedience trial, which originally was slated to start in January but was delayed twice over procedural issues.