HK to pay legal expenses of OFW arrested in protest

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Kowloon City Magistracy



A judge in Kowloon City this afternoon granted the application for legal costs filed by an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was arrested during an anti-government protest in Mong Kok in August but was eventually cleared of any charge.

Kowloon City Acting Principal Magistrate Ada Yim granted the application of Hong Kong Disneyland dancer Jethro Pioquinto, 36, for him to recover all of his legal expenses.

Judge Yim said she granted Pioquinto’s application because “nothing suspicious was found on him” and he was “relatively far away from the starting point of the unlawful assembly.”

She also said that the police knew of the address of Pioquinto, who lives in Mong Kok, after his arrest and that he “clearly provided an innocent” explanation as to why he was at the scene of the protest.

Pioquinto, who came to HK in 2008 to work in Disneyland, was arrested at around 11:15 pm on August 3 while the police dispersed anti-government protesters at the junction of Fife Street at Nathan Road in Mong Kok.  As the police charged, Pioquinto ran away and was tackled down by an anti-riot policeman.

He had insisted from the start that he was only on his way home when he was arrested. The police later charged Pioquinto with unlawful assembly at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts but, on Nov. 26, the government dropped the case due to lack of evidence.

Pioquinto then filed an application for costs. His lawyer, barrister Fiona Nam, said the Filipino was claiming “more than $30,000” (or nearly P200,000) for his legal expenses.

Judge Yim said the court will make an assessment if the government later objects to the specific amount Pioquinto’s camp will submit.