On the day of 7.27 in Yuen Long, four young men were accused of possession of air guns and Swiss army knives near Yoho Mall. They were charged with possession of offensive weapons in a public place. They were even detained after the first mention, bail being denied. The case was heard again in Fanling Magistrates’ Court today. The prosecution suddenly applied to withdraw the charge against one young man of 19-year-old, conceding that he was not connected with the charges of the other 3 persons. But the prosecution still refused to pay costs. The Defendant said the young man did not know the other defendants. He met them on the scence that day and discussed with them how to leave the scene. Acting Chief Magistrate So Man Lung eventually allowed the application of the Defendant and ordered the prosecution to pay costs.
In addition, the prosecution decided to withdraw the charge against the 4th Defendant but opposed to pay costs. The prosecution allege that the police saw the company of four, and appeared at the crime scene at around 10 pm acting suspiciously. Therefore the police stopped and searched them. The magistrate asked the prosecution whether the 4th defendant’s charge was connected with to the charges of the other three persons. The prosecution replied no and conceded that there is no charge of illegal assembly.
Man Ho Ching, the legal representative of the 4th defendant, stated that the Defendant did not bring suspicion on himself. Under caution, he already indicated that he did not know the other Defendants, nor did he know that the other three persons carried the objects listed on the charges. On the relevant night, the 4th Defendant saw the three people passing by thus discussed with them what transportation to take to leave. As for the initial charge that the 4th defendant possessed a utility knife, Man the legal representative claimed that this was an ordinary object. The Magistrate eventually ordered the Prosecution to pay the 4th Defendant’s costs, to be taxed in the District Court, if not agreed.
This case was first brought to court on 30 July for mention. It was heard by the same Magistrate So. At that time, Magistrate So claimed that the charges were serious, and the tools carried by the four people could be used as weapons. Objectively, the purpose of their presence at the scene was "very obvious". There were grounds to infer that if anyone would hinder their intended actions, they might use the tools they carried to attack that person. Therefore, he refused all their bail applications and they were remanded in custody for the next hearing.