Courts reopen, rejecting media by asking journalists to contact PPRB

Courts have been providing limited services since 29th January. After more than a month, normal services resume gradually starting from this week. District Court Registry was reopened today, with 50 to 60 people lining up for a number tag in the morning. When the tag number was displayed on the screen at the entrance, people could proceed to the Court Registry on the sixth floor. All 300 number tags were distributed before 11am. Officers declined a journalist to get inside for reporting and loudly requested a law firm employee who wanted to pay a bill at the accounting department to leave.

A journalist with Apple Daily with his press pass tried to get to the Court Registry on the sixth floor for reporting. However, on his way, a security guard requested him to leave. He asked for the reason but the security guard only said that there was no entry for journalists according to the officers.

The journalist therefore went to the officers for an explanation but Officer Mr Lee requested him to leave impolitely. When being asked for an explanation, Mr Lee said, ‘you should ask PPRB.’ The journalist reconfirmed, ‘PPRB is Police Public Relations Branch, isn’t it?’ Mr Lee said, ‘Whoever you are, even you’re IO (Information Officer), you have to leave if you don’t have a number tag!’ and then forced the journalist to leave.

Every citizen entering District Court today must wear a mask and got their body temperature measured. Court Registry was reopened but its operation was not smooth. There was a law firm employee who came to pay a bill for a family court case at the accounting department. He revealed, ‘I also came here to pay yesterday morning as well as in the afternoon. Why can’t I pay another bill today?’ He argued with the accountant loudly and then was requested to leave by a security guard.

Later, he told our reporter that the accountant was extremely rude. ‘Even the payment can’t be made today, he still didn’t have to be so rude. He said, “I said no. No means no!” What’s the problem with him?’ About 10 minutes later, he was led by a staff member from Family Court to get inside to pay the bill.

Finally, when he was leaving after the payment, the security guard asked him to hand in the number tag. The law firm employee mocked, ‘people have to hand in the number tag even they’re leaving? Then do they have to get a number tag if they’re going to the washroom?’

Judiciary spokesman replied at night that Mr Lee was a staff member from their department. He had lost his staff card and is waiting for the re-issuance. Therefore, he is using a temporary staff card. He wanted to ask the journalist to contact PPRO, which is Press and Public Relations Office of the Judiciary. It was a slip of the tongue.

The spokesman continued that the Judiciary has already reminded all staff members that they should be careful on their wording and always be polite when they talk to any court users to minimise unnecessary misunderstanding.

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