An assistant engineer was sentenced to 120 hours of community service by a court on Monday for attacking the government news website last October during the pro-democracy Occupy protests.

Kwok Tsz-to, 21, pleaded guilty to the charge of “obtaining access to computer with a dishonest intent to cause loss to another” earlier last month at the Tuen Mun Magistracy. Kwok had used a program on Anonymous Asia, a hacking group, to attack the website 2,616 times in a minute. Counsel for the defence argued that the attack merely resulted in a slight delay in the website’s response and that it had not damaged the servers.

kwok apple daily
Kwok, who was sentenced to 120 hours of community service.

Magistrate Kelly Shui said the social service report showed that Kwok, who was a student at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, was a motivated young adult, Commercial Radio reported. She said she believed he possessed self-discipline and did not put him on probation.

However, she also said that his actions were unacceptable. There were a lot of voices of discontent in society at the moment, she said, and these people should think about how to properly convey their thoughts to the government and make constructive contributions. Otherwise, it would only destroy Hong Kong and there would be no peace or social development.

Last year, the hacking group Anonymous declared cyber warfare on Hong Kong websites such as the homepages of the official Occupy Central movement, the Silent Majority for Hong Kong, and the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB). The group took down the websites in October as a response to the tactics police employed against the peaceful protesters, it announced.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.