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International Social Service Hong Kong wins defamation case against Vision First

[23 June 2017] International Social Service Hong Kong (ISS-HK) won its defamation case against Vision First today when the High Court handed down its judgment and granted an award for damages of HK$800,000.00 in favour of ISS-HK and an injunction against Vision First. The Court also ordered Vision First to pay ISS-HK’s legal costs.

The Court considered the testimony made by Ms. Adrielle Panares, Migrants Programme Director of ISS-HK as “truthful and reliable” and held that the 21 articles posted by Vision First on its website since August 2013 “are quite clearly intended to, and did, convey to an ordinary reader defamatory imputations”. Those articles contained allegations that ISS-HK has committed serious criminal offences relating to its service for non-refoulement claimants, which Vision First has failed to establish.

Facing reckless and relentless campaign to discredit the organization, ISS-HK was left with no option but to take legal action in April 2014 with the uncompromising goal to right wrong, to seek redress, and to publicly denounce those who choose irrationalism over reason and defamation over fact.

ISS-HK is pleased to see that the litigation concluded with a clear and final result, that justice is served, and that truth triumphs.

Mr Stephen Yau, the Chief Executive of ISS-HK, welcomes the ruling of the High Court. “We have never had any doubt of the result and are glad that the High Court’s verdict has set the record straight once and for all upholding the integrity of ISS-HK as a responsible social service organization. We hope that the ruling will act as a deterrent and put an end to smears thrown at ISS-HK.

“What I found most gratifying during this long, trying period was that our service teams have chosen not to yield to pressure but to conscientiously perform their duties with professionalism and perseverance.” Mr Stephen Yau added.

All along, ISS-HK encourages respectful dialogue and constructive criticism but abhors all forms of biased, malicious, and defamatory allegations, as well as personal attacks. ISS-HK will continue to work closely with the Government, relevant working partners, and other concerned parties to provide the best possible service to the people put under its care.

Established in 1958, ISS-HK is especially committed to assisting children and families geographically separated due to migration, displacements, and conflict issues through its unique intercountry casework service and international coordination efforts. Since 2006, ISS-HK has been commissioned by the Social Welfare Department of the Hong Kong Government through tendering exercises to provide assistance-in-kind on humanitarian grounds to non-refoulement claimants who are deprived of their basic needs during their presence in Hong Kong.

The full verdict of the High Court can be viewed at the following link:


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