On 11th January 2006, the 14 people who had been charged and detained by the Hong Kong authorities for the demonstration on 17th December against the WTO Ministerial undertook a mention at Kwuntong Court, Hong Kong. Out of the 14, 11 people (1 Japanese, 1 Chinese, 1 Taiwonese and 8 Koreans) had their charges dropped for lack of evidence, and 3 Koreans (Yang Kyung Gyu, Park In Hwan and Yoon Il Gwon) were charged with either ‘unauthorized assembly (Yang)’ or ‘unlawful assembly (Park & Yoon)’. Furthermore, the 3 people have been allowed bail and had their passports returned, so all 14 will now be able to go back home.
We welcome the decision by the court to release the 11 people. The results show that the allegations against them were weak from the start and it is recognition on the part of the Hong Kong authorities that they had detained them unjustly. However, we are indignant that the 3 innocent people have been charged. We are certain that eventually they will be ruled not guilty since we know that they are innocent. The three people will come back to Hong Kong on 1st March to stand trial and have vowed to fight for their innocence. In other words, the results clearly prove that our protests against the WTO were just, and that all the detainees have been innocent all along. We cannot but say that it was a political prosecution.
The release of the detainees was possible because of strong international solidarity manifested by more than 1,500 people from all corners of the Earth sending petitions and protest letters to Donald Tsang, street actions in 20 different cities globally, the international mission of civil society leaders who were in Hong Kong to give support, more than 100 people who went on solidarity hunger strike in Hong Kong and other parts of the world, and the support from ordinary Hong Kong citizens. However, it was possible fundamentally because workers, peasants, women, youths and ordinary peoples all around the world yearn for an end to all the impoverishment and injustices brought by the WTO. The release of the 14 detainees was a clear manifestation of the strength of the people united against the WTO around the world.
However, our struggle will not stop here. We will remember the night of the 17th December 2005. We know that the WTO was promoting neoliberal globalization under protection from armed police. We know very well that while thousands were out on the streets of Hong Kong, while protestors were being beaten, electrified and gassed by the police, while 1,300 people were arrested and their human rights abused – at the very same time, WTO negotiators were finalizing a deal that will devastate the lives of the people. We know very well that while 12 detainees were on hunger strike, the WTO was busy furthering the agenda of transnational corporations.
The formal trial on the 3 people will start on 1st March, and the WTO is expected to have its next meeting in March or April. This is just a beginning. It is in fact the WTO that should stand trial for all the evil that it had brought to the world, not innocent workers and peasants who resist against exploitation. We will continue to fight for the innocence of the 3 persons charged, and we will continue our struggles until we derail the WTO once and for all.
Kong Yee Sai Mau! Protest against the WTO!
12th January, 2006
Hong Kong People’s Alliance
Korean Struggle Mission against Hong Kong WTO Ministerial
(Korean Peasants League, Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, Korean Catholic Farmers Movement and 17 other organizations)