Newsletter February 2023

3 mins read


In this newsletter: 2nd year Carol Ng spent behind bars | UN ICESCR Review on Hong Kong | 2nd trade union registration revoked

2nd year Carol Ng spent behind bars

Carol Ng, the former chairperson of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, has already spent two years behind bars before trial. She was detained on 28 February 2021 on a subversion charge under the Hong Kong National Security Law. The Hong Kong court denied her bail application on 20 December 2021, citing her international influence from her trade union work.

Experts at the UN have raised concerns about Ng’s lengthy detention without trial. Michael Windfuhr, the vice-chair of the UN Committee on Social, Economic, and Social Rights, stated that without a stronger argument from the authorities, the decision to deny Ng’s bail application appears “very arbitrary.”

Hong Kong’s largest national security trial of 47 democrats began this month

Carol Ng and the former chairperson of the Hospital Authority Employee Alliance, Winnie Yu, were among the 47 Hong Kong democrats charged with subversion under the Hong Kong National Security Law.

Winnie Yu and Carol Ng, along with 45 other defendants, are charged with subversion in relation to their participation in an unofficial primary election held in 2020 to select pro-democracy candidates for the Legislative Council election.

The trial is expected to last for 90 days without a jury. 16 of the 47 defendants, including Winnie Yu, pleaded not guilty. Carol Ng, along with the other 30 defendants, intends to plead guilty in this politically engineered trial. The court will pass sentence on her after this trial.

The prosecution has already finished its opening statement. We’ll be following developments closely and keeping you up-to-date. Stay tuned for more analysis and ways to get involved in supporting democracy and labour rights in Hong Kong.

UN advocacy

The UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ESCR) finished a review session on the implementation of ESCR in Hong Kong on 15 and 16 February.

HKLRM’s Executive Director Christopher Mung spoke at the review session as a civil society organisation representative. He highlighted the five areas in which the Hong Kong authorities crack down on Hong Kong trade unions, including surveillance over trade unions and their members and detention of trade unionists. He refuted the authorities’ arguments that the trade unions disbanded at their own will.

Latest in Hong Kong labour rights

HK White Collar Connect Union became the second trade union de-registered by the HK government

One more trade union was de-registered, as Hong Kong officials worked hard to whitewash their human rights record before the UN committee. This was the second trade union to get its registration revoked since the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists.

The deregistration came one day after Assistant Commissioner of the Hong Kong Labour Department Cheung Hoi-Shan claimed that “Trade union rights in Hong Kong are strong and intact as ever” before the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

According to figures from the Hong Kong Labour Department, 176 trade unions have been disbanded from 2021 to 2022.

Hong Kong court awards the largest compensation to a victim of domestic worker abuse

In February, the Hong Kong court ruled that Kartika Puspitasari, a victim of domestic worker abuse, would receive HKD 1.2186 million in compensation, officially ending a ten-year legal battle. This is the largest compensation awarded in such cases to date.

Domestic worker abuse in Hong Kong is rooted in policies that leave them vulnerable to workplace exploitation and violence. In the latest UN ESCR review on Hong Kong, expert members have called on Hong Kong officials to explain what policies they will implement to prevent Hong Kong from becoming the “city of slaves” again.

New series: Know your rights

This month, we have rolled out a new series, “Know Your Rights”, on our social media channels. We kicked off the series by discussing recent news on casual workers’ rights in Hong Kong.

At HKLRM, we believe public education is vital, and we’re passionate about keeping workers in Hong Kong informed. More content is coming out soon, so make sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date.

February has been a busy month for us at HKLRM! We’re making great strides in promoting #HKLabourRights, and we’d love your help in spreading the word. Please forward this email and follow us on  TwitterInstagram and Facebook for more updates.

We always welcome your feedback and suggestions, so don’t hesitate to drop us a comment. Together, we can make a difference !

In solidarity,
Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor

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