Choy, 37, decided not to testify or summon witnesses.

The defense told the court that Choy hoped to identify owners of vehicles that may have been used for crimes when she conducted the searches for RTHK's Hong Kong Connection program.

This purpose is in line with the declaration she made while conducting the search, which was "other transport and traffic matters."

Choy pleaded not guilty on two counts of making false declarations under the Road Traffic Ordinance while searching vehicle registration details for a Hong Kong Connection episode on the July 21, 2019, Yuen Long MTR station attack.

Principal magistrate Ivy Chui Yee-mei yesterday ruled that the prosecution had provided sufficient evidence to prosecute Choy and adjourned the case to April 22. Choy was released on bail in the meantime.

Acting assistant director of public prosecutions Derek Lau Tak-wai read a statement from Transport Department executive officer Roy Shiu Kan-yun saying people should only make a vehicle registration search for transport-related businesses, the sale or purchase of a vehicle or traffic and transport-related matters.

But defense counsel Derek Chan Ching-lung said Choy did not make a mistake by declaring her search was for transport-related matters, as she aimed to find the person who transported attackers and weapons.

Although the program focused on the Yuen Long attack, it also covered how the car was used and whether it was involved in any crimes, which is related to transport and traffic, he said.

Chan said if a person is attacked by someone who flees the scene by a private car, the victim could look for the identity of the attacker through a car plate search.

"Even though the attack had nothing to do with traffic, the car was used on public roads to carry the attackers and is involved in a crime," he said.

However, Lau said searches should only be used for traffic and transport-related matters to eliminate inconvenience caused by traffic congestion and crimes.

But Choy used the information to interview the car owner in a publicly broadcast program, meaning she had used the information for reporting purposes, he said.

Before the hearing, a dozen RTHK staff union members appeared outside the court to support Choy, holding banners saying "journalism is not a crime," "stand up for Bao Choy" and "without fear or favor."