That the courts in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have rejected the bail applications of some detainees arrested by the police in the recent riots for the first time since the unrest began in June has been viewed as a sign that at last the courts are going to stop showing the rioters excessive – and therefore encouraging – leniency.

Whether that proves to be the case or not remains to be seen.

Until now, the city’s judicial system, inherited from the British colonial system, has been a condoner of the rioting, rather than a defender of law and order. Before the current rejections of bail applications, it is believed that more than 5,000 detainees charged with illegal assembly or violent crimes had been released on bail.

Duty of Hong Kong courts to uphold law

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