6th February, 2014
A PRC Student at HKU Shoplift at SOGO Gets Bind-over Order
Wang Yan, a 25 years old female Chinese student from China currently studying at Hong Kong University’s Department of Anesthesiology was caught stealing baby clothing and jumpers at SOGO on 25th December, 2013. The defense lawyer said that the defendant comes from a poor family but has been a good student. She received scholarship to study in Hong Kong. And that she shoplifted because she wanted to send some presents to her family back in China. The defendant said that she is planning to take her professional exam and worried that having a criminal record would affect her future.
After considering the defendant’s background and her good academic record, the magistrate ordered Wang to bind-over for one year and to pay a US$130 guarantees. The magistrate also questioned the Department of Justice why the department did not consider a bind-over ahead of the hearing. The DoJ representative said that a bind-over without hearing is not suitable for this case.
The reason the Editor decided to translate this article is that there have been a number of cases in recent years (at least the past two years) that Chinese from the PRC as well as individuals with connections to the affluent or famous who are arrested and prosecuted very often received bind-over orders. However, a number of grass-root individuals or activists regardless of charges were not only fined but also received sentences (some were offered probation) and the courts seem to be more tight in offering them a second chance. After a number of incidents, the Editor thinks that we should start tracking these cases, to the best of our ability with one thought in our mind: is Hong Kong’s rule of law becoming rule by law, or worse, by the power?