Hong Kong justice chief departs amid rule of law worries

Hong Kong's justice chief is leaving his job earlier than expected amid rising turmoil over the semiautonomous Chinese city's judiciary.

The government said Friday that Rimsky Yuen is stepping down as the city's top law enforcement officer.

Yuen, who was reappointed for a second five-year term in July, will be replaced by Teresa Cheng, a lawyer and arbitration expert whose nomination Beijing approved.

Yuen's tenure was marked by a number of controversies over rule of law.

Activists criticized Yuen for using the law to clamp down on growing dissent through heavy-handed prosecutions of pro-democracy leaders involved in 2014's massive "Umbrella Movement" and other protests.

He also led government efforts to disqualify a group of newly elected opposition lawmakers from office over irregularities in their oaths of office.