Justice Secretary hits out at unnamed academics

The Secretary for Justice, Teresa Cheng, on Saturday criticised a number of unnamed academics and teachers, who she said had misled students about the definition of terrorism, saying they were “disgraceful”.

Writing on her blog, she said she wanted to explain some legal principles regarding the attack on a police officer by a man in Causeway Bay on July 1. The man killed himself after the attack.

The government has described the case as a “lone wolf-style act of domestic terrorism”.

Cheng said it was suggested by some people that only attacks targeting civilians were considered terrorism, whereas those targeting the authorities or law enforcement personnel do not constitute terrorism.

However, she said people could see from United Nations Security Council resolutions, and anti-terrorism laws of different countries, that terrorism referred to any serious criminal act, irrespective of who is targeted, and its purpose was to provoke a state of terror in order to compel a government.

“Such common sense is however distorted by some so-called ‘scholars’. It is truly disgraceful of those teachers to have misled their students and set a bad example,” Cheng said.

Cheng also noted that some people described the attack as “heroic”, bringing children to express condolences by leaving flowers at the crime scene, and some students had expressed “gratitude” to the assailant.

“No sensible person would have agreed to glorify those criminal acts. Such perverse practices are immoral and confusing right from wrong,” she said.

She said no one could use their freedom as an excuse to advocate or defend terrorist activities.