The labor tribunal in Kowloon where the man was found with the knife. Photo: Google Maps

A 74-year-old Sikh man was arrested and later released after police discovered he carried a 7-inch knife into a labor tribunal in Kowloon’s Yau Ma Tei on Thursday morning.

The man went to the tribunal with a friend over a claim for outstanding wages, the Oriental Daily reported. As the two men were sitting outside the courtroom on the third floor waiting for the start of their hearing, a security guard discovered the Sikh man was carrying a knife concealed under the clothes. He immediately called police.

About 10 officers from the emergency unit of the West Kowloon Police District went to the courtroom carrying shields and found the 7-inch knife on the elderly man. No weapon was found on his friend.

The man told police he was a Sikh and the knife was a kirpan, a ceremonial knife central to the Sikh faith. Police arrested both men for alleged possession of weapons, but after an investigation found the knife was only for religious purposes and the men were later released. 

According to the tribunal rules, no weapons are allowed on the premises, but people do have the right to apply to carry them in special circumstances.