Rear Window | What about Scott Chiang?

Severo Portela

It looks like the Sulu Sou “affair” has come to a standstill! The Court of First Instance adjourned the trial (aggravated disobedience Sulu Sou/Scott Chiang) sine die pending a decision by a higher instance court over a request to suspend the suspension approved by the Legislative Assembly…so that Sulu Sou could stand trial on aggravated disobedience.

At least there is a perception that everything related to the suspension of the directly-elected pro-democracy legislator moved to a slower mode, particularly if we consider the haste of both the suspension procedure and the resolution drafted to render impossible Sulu Sou’s appeal before the court… therefore rendering impossible a TSI ruling on the matter. So plainly obvious and blatant a violation of MSAR Basic Law, it deserved the negative assessment of professors of constitutional law, former legislators and lawyers. The common evaluation being that the now notorious Vong Hin Fai/Kou Hoi In plan threatened to subvert the Basic Law by twisting the separation of powers, ultimately posing a serious menace to the founding concept of the rule of law. Vong Hin Fai is a lawyer by trade.

One would say that this kind of faux pas and flagrant nonsense would fall unto the Legislative Assembly as a call to further study the Basic Law in its substance and geometry and of course the in-
house Rules of Procedure. It looks like it will not… as if there was an (hypothetical) influence hanging over the floor and exempting AL from considering or admitting any wrongdoing in that Sulu Sou “affair”. As a disclaimer we should say that the above is not related to Vong’s appointment to the Chinese People´s Political Consultative Conference.

As in all ill-crafted stories, the unintended consequences take over the narrative and feed the switch in the script: Here from an alleged case of civil disobedience to a hypothetical politically motivated drive.

Besides the legal evaluations of the constitutionalists and lawyers regarding the Vong Hin Fai resolution aimed at enlightening the people, Sulu Sou’s ordeal has commanded a lot of social commentary, well or ill founded, biased or not, but unequivocally out of moral principle. So much so… a source from the Executive tried to reset the question as if it was simply a matter of having a fair trial!

This is no longer a question of a fair trial of which there is no doubt or malicious reticence. The above mentioned “unintended consequences” of both the suspension and the resolution feed the idea that Sulu Sou, being a well-behaved legislator doing everything by the book – that is to say, he operates carefully within the geometry of the very Basic Law others tried to vex – has been unfairly prosecuted on the grounds of civil disobedience for walking unauthorized in the middle of a road and one count of vandalism for throwing paper planes.

It is of no use to dress the Sulu Sou affair as a mellow Singaporean inspiration, which is supposedly a litigious restrictive model that does not abide by the international principle of law of proportionality, is phrased ambiguously, fit all sizes; anything goes. Whether we take the city-state model as utopia or a dystopia, we should consider carefully the 2009 Public Order Act under the wings of which are forbidden public gatherings for political purposes …if deemed political, of course! This is not the Macau Basic Law!

Finally, about Scott Chiang being the title of choice to our column: this is to exorcize the mere and guessed possibility of a face-saving scenario that would split the prosecution and eventually condemn Scott while keeping Sulu Sou… suspended from the bench!

Categories Opinion