The almost 60-year-old Sham, with a monthly salary of HK$230,950, will leave the judiciary next month, according to The Standard's sister publication Sing Tao Daily.

A source told Sing Tao Daily that Sham will move to the United Kingdom with his son. According to the Judicial Officers Ordinance, the normal retirement age for a district judge is 65-years-old, but they can choose to retire earlier.

Sham obtained his barrister qualification in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong in 1989 and 1990 respectively. He was appointed magistrate in 1997 and was promoted to district judge in September of 2012.

Sham has been criticized by pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po for "freeing rioters" after in October last year and February this year he acquitted 14 defendants that were charged with rioting or conspiracy to take part in a riot.

One of them involved a Wan Chai rioting case on August 31, 2019, and Sham said in the trial: "Running does not mean they fear their crimes, nor should we casually classify people in black clothing as participating in riots. The prosecution cannot prove the charges without reasonable doubts."

Eight people, including member of the Battlefield Social Worker group Jackie Chen Hung-sau, were acquitted of rioting charges in October last year. The Department of Justice then appealed the acquittal of eight people in the case, as prosecution believed Sham was wrong in the point of law.

In February this year, six other defendants charged with conspiracy to take part in a riot were acquitted by Sham.

In this case, police found flammable liquid in a Causeway Bay Airbnb flat on October 1 in 2019. They arrested five people that were sleeping there and host Shum Cheuk-kan.

Sham ruled that they are not guilty as there were "too many possibilities" in the prosecution's accusation.

In response to Sham's retirement, the judiciary's spokesman said the judiciary will not comment on individual judges' or judicial officers' personnel arrangement.