Case Commentary

Hong Kong Criminal Law — Magistrate acquits defendant of false imprisonment during the “831 Prince Edward Station Incident”

On 30th January 2024, Magistrate Phillip Chan Chee-fai acquitted the second defendant on one charge of False Imprisonment arising out of the Prince Edward Station Incident on 31st August 2019, a well-remembered and highly-publicised clash between protestors and the Hong Kong Police Force. The successful second defendant was represented by Randy Shek in HKSAR v Leung Ching Man & Anor in KCCC 1432/2023.

In addition to the man’s oral testimony, the prosecution relied on video footage of a crowd encircling a man accused of photographing the incidents at the station on his phone and preventing him from leaving until he demonstrated that he had deleted all relevant photos and footage. The first and second defendants were among those in the crowd and were accused of unlawfully detaining the man. 

During the verdict, the second defendant was found to be credible, and the possibility that she was present at the scene to defuse the situation rather than detain the victim could not be dismissed. In remarking that her testimony was consistent with the video footage presented by the prosecution,  the learned Magistrate gave her the benefit of reasonable doubt and acquitted her.

False imprisonment is a common law offence and is committed when a person unlawfully restrains a person’s freedom of movement in a given space. Persons convicted of false imprisonment are liable to a maximum of 7 year’s imprisonment and a fine.


Randy Shek, Instructed by the Duty Lawyer Service


Randy Shek

“Randy is a highly experienced counsel in the criminal law practice. He offers pragmatic and robust advice to clients and achieves favourable outcomes for them.” — Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2023-2024: Regulatory, Investigations and Crime: Leading Juniors 

Randy’s main areas of practice include criminal law, human rights and civil liberties, and public law.  He also accepts instructions for civil cases involving injunctions, family law, and land law.

While he regularly receives instructions to prosecute on behalf of the Department of Justice, Randy is mainly a criminal defence counsel.  Randy has a long and established track record for defending cases arising from protests, demonstrations and other high profile public order events, which frequently involve human rights and civil liberties dimensions.

Moreover, he is also experienced in handling conventional crime, white collar crime, SFC investigations, and serious crime, including sexual offences and murder.  He has conducted trials and appeals in all court levels, both as led junior and on his own right.

Find out more from Randy’s profile.

This article was first published on 31 January 2024.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice and seeks to set out the general principles of the law. Detailed advice should therefore be sought from a legal professional relating to the individual merits and facts of a particular case. The photographs which appear in this article are included for decorative purposes only and should not be taken as a depiction of any matter to which the case is related. The views and opinions expressed in this article/material are solely those of the members authoring it and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Denis Chang’s Chambers, or of any other member or members of Denis Chang’s Chambers.