The MTR is asking the High Court to overturn a lower court’s decision to acquit Labour Party chairman Steven Kwok over a protest he organised inside the Kowloon Tong station in 2016.

Kwok was found not guilty by the Tuen Mun Magistracy of failing to comply with an MTR notice, when he and his followers protested in a paid area of the station against the rail firm’s fare increases.

At a hearing, senior counsel Johnny Mok representing the rail firm, argued that the magistrate had made a wrong decision because Kwok’s actions had caused an obstruction to passengers and posed a risk to public disorder. But Kwok’s lawyer argued that there’s no evidence to suggest that his client had caused any obstruction.

Judge Albert Wong said he needed time to consider the case and would hand down his judgement at a later date.

In 2017, the lower court fined Kwok HK$2,000 for distributing leaflets in the station without approval, but acquitted him of another charge of failing to comply with an MTR notice to leave the area.

Mok said if these kinds of protests are allowed, then similar demonstrations by different groups would have to be allowed and that would pose a serious risk of disruption and social conflict.

Kwok’s lawyer, Linda Wong, however, argued it’s a fundamental right for people to protest in a public space, and it’s unreasonable for MTR officials to simply ask protesters to leave without first offering an alternative site.