Hong Kong court prepares arrest warrants for Falun Gong

Source: Associated Press
Publication date: 2002-08-21
http://– BROKEN URL yellowbrix.com -/pages/newsreal/Story.nsp?story_id=32310871

HONG KONG (AP) — Sixteen Falun Gong followers are refusing a court’s order to pay fines for causing an obstruction during a protest, and officials said Wednesday they were preparing arrest warrants.

The Falun Gong practitioners say they were illegally arrested and improperly prosecuted over a demonstration outside the Chinese government liaison office here on March 14, so they won’t pay the penalties handed down last week.

“If we pay, it means we admit we did things wrong,” said Sophie Xiao, who serves as a local Falun Gong spokeswoman although she was not a defendant in the case, Hong Kong’s first against members of the meditation group.

“It’s unfair and unjust to us,” Xiao said.

Magistrate Symon Wong convicted the Falun Gong followers — including four Swiss and one New Zealand citizen — of causing an obstruction and acting in a way that could cause an obstruction.

Some also were found guilty of obstructing the police or assaulting police. Wong ordered them all fined between 1,300 Hong Kong dollars (U.S. dlrs 167) and 3,800 Hong Kong dollars (U.S. dlrs 487) without imposing any jail time.

The defendants asked to delay paying while they appeal, but Wong refused and ordered them to pay up by Monday.

Since the defendants didn’t pay, the court is now preparing arrest warrants, which should take between two and three weeks, said Lena Ting, a Hong Kong Judiciary spokeswoman.

Some Falun Gong followers said previously they were ready to go to jail before paying fines for staging what they called a proper demonstration that did not obstruct anybody.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday August 21, 2002.
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