Government officials did not pledge “not to prosecute” Sin Fong Garden proprietors

Recently, the CCAC received a letter from the New Macau Association reporting that the representatives of the proprietors of flats at Sin Fong Garden told the media that, after seven of the Sin Fong Garden proprietors were arrested last year by the police for the charge of aggravated disobedience, some government officials pledged “not to prosecute the arrested proprietors” in exchange for the withdrawal from the public road that the proprietors occupied for the protest. The association pointed out that such promise had allegedly constituted serious interference with judiciary independence and, therefore, requested the CCAC to carry out an in-depth probe into the case. Upon receipt of the said report, the CCAC proceeded with the procedures of recusal and substitution according to the relevant provisions under the Organic Law of the CCAC and subsequently commenced a formal investigation. In the course of the investigation, the representatives of the committee of Sin Fong Garden proprietors and those who had been prosecuted for occupying public road both stated that they never heard that some government officials had promised “not to prosecute” them. Meanwhile, the members of the cross-departmental task force set up by the Macao SAR Government to follow up the case of Sin Fong Garden and the officials of relevant government departments also stated that they had never made such promise. The CCAC also found in the investigation that last year the proprietors mainly staged two protests by occupying public road. The first one started on the afternoon of 23rd March and ended at around 9:00pm on 24th March as the protesters left on their own. No arrest occurred during the protest. The second one started on the night of 10th April. After several warnings in vain, the police started to clear up the site at around 1:00am on 11th April and arrested seven of the proprietors. The protesters had already withdrawn from the public road they occupied at that time and most of them had left when the police took action. Only some dozens of them camped at the parking lot of the building and the pavements nearby. The traffic condition at the site returned to normal quickly afterwards. Therefore, the saying that “some government officials requested the proprietors to withdraw from the public road by pledging not to prosecute them” is not reasonable. Since there is no evidence showing that government officials had ever promised not to prosecute the proprietors of the flats at Sin Fong Garden arrested for the charge of aggravated disobedience, the report of alleged interference with judicial independence is groundless. Therefore, the CCAC archived the case according to the law.

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