Volunteers fined HK$4000 for giving away healthcare materials with protest flyers

Two volunteers of a construction workers union were accused of violating social distancing rules for distributing anti-Covid medical materials and flyers for protests in 2020 and were fined HK4,000 at Eastern Magistrates' Courts.

Six of the ten defendants from the Construction Site Workers General Union were on trial on Tuesday morning at Eastern Magistrates' Courts.

The ten held a gathering on May 6, 2020, in the street next to MTR Admiralty Station to give away anti-epidemic supplies with flyers and notes saying protesting slogans attached. Some also used loudspeakers to advocate political demands on a footbridge.

Police came to the scene around 12pm and required the volunteers to dismiss. However, the ten volunteers refused to leave and were arrested two hours later under the offense of the restrictions on gatherings in public.

Four of the defendants have pleaded guilty to the count and were fined HK$4,500 respectively in May this year, as well as two of the remaining six were ruled with a HK$4,000 fine each by the Magistrate today.

"It is the duty of every citizen to fight against the epidemic, especially during the severe situation," said Magistrate Vivian Ho Wai-han in the court.

"[But] the defendants ignored the warnings of police in the gathering deliberately," she said, "which is extremely selfish and irresponsible."

The rest four of the six will face imprisonment pending the second round of trial next February as being accused of other counts of taking part in a political demonstration in Admiralty on May 1, 2020.