An American corporate lawyer will be punished on July 6 for attacking a police officer in Hong Kong during a time of citywide turmoil approximately 18 months ago.
Bickett said he will appeal the “outrageous” judgment and “will not rest until justice is done” in a statement obtained by ABC News. He went on to say that the trial’s conclusion is “completely unsupportable by both the law and the evidence in this case.”
According to a State Department spokesman, the US was aware of Bickett’s situation and was trying to give consular assistance: “We take our obligation to help American people abroad very seriously, and we’re keeping an eye on the issue.”
Bickett, a former Bank of America compliance director, was apparently on his way to dinner when he attempted to stop a guy from assaulting a rider at a subway station.
That man turned out to be an off-duty cop who said he was trying to stop a turnstile jumper with a baton. Because of the continuing demonstrations, Hong Kong cops were permitted to carry retractable batons during off-duty hours.
Bickett alleges that the police were threatening passengers and that he intervened to prevent someone from being injured.
Bickett stated in a statement that the court system in Hong Kong “suggests a deliberate abandoning of fundamental legal norms by this magistrate, and makes me worry for the condition of the rule of law in this city.”
The case of Bickett is set against a difficult political context. Since last summer, when Beijing implemented national security legislation in the city, where crackdowns have impacted a number of critical industries, there has been a spate of arrests and convictions.
After the government froze its assets and imprisoned a few executives, the city’s sole remaining opposition daily, Apple Daily, was forced to shut last month.
Amnesty International warned on Wednesday that Hong Kong is “on a fast track to becoming a police state.”
Carrie Lam, the leader of Hong Kong, has disputed that the former colony’s liberties and autonomy, which were supposed to be protected when the United Kingdom gave it back to China in 1997, are being eroded.
But it remains to be seen whether this guarantee is sufficient for the American and foreign firms, families, and individuals who stay in Hong Kong.
“These are delicate times for American industry in Hong Kong,” said Tara Joseph, president of the American Chamber of Commerce. “Wrestling not just with the National Security Law, but also with heightened US-China tensions and severe COVID travel restrictions,” according to city officials.
According to a chamber poll done in May, 42% of members are considering leaving, however, as Joseph pointed out, Hong Kong remains an important economic hub “enter: “Hong Kong is an important commercial hub in many industries.” Many businesses will attempt to adapt to a new normal.”