The chairman of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) Council testified at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts that the former student union president intimidated him as students besieged a council meeting in January.

Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, who had recently been appointed as the new chairman, said on Thursday that he felt his life was threatened as student protesters pulled his arm. He also accused Billy Fung Jing-en, then the student union president, of inciting the protesters by repeatedly shouting next to him: “Don’t let him go, don’t allow Li Kwok-cheung to leave. Kill him. Kill him.” The Cantonese phrase for “kill” can also be interpreted as “knock down.”

Li said he was scared when Fung shouted the words, and that Fung was the “mastermind” behind the attack. He described the scene as chaotic at the time, adding: “If someone falls down, they might be stepped on.”

Arthur Li being surrounded.

Li described the scene as “riot” in court as the trial continued on Friday. He said two men pulled his right arm and swore at him. He said he believed the duo attempted to pull him out and attack him.

Li added: “If they pull me out to the crowd, they can beat me up. If I fall on the ground, they can step on me.”

Martin Lee Chu-ming, who represents the defendant, said Li was only “guessing” that the protesters wanted to cause serious harm to him. Li replied this was what he felt that night.

Li also brought up the leaking of HKU council tapes in court, and said he believed Fung was behind it. When he was asked if he hates Fung, he replied: “I do not hate him, but I look down upon him, because there are problems with his personality.”

Billy Fung Jing-en. Photo: HKU Undergrad via Facebook.

Fung pleaded guilty of criminal damage and forcible entry, but pleaded not guilty to criminal intimidation.

Meanwhile, Colman Li Fung-kei, an officer at the student union at the time, was also accused of obstructing an ambulance carrying Leonie Ki Man-fung. He is accused of shouting: “Ki Man-fung is faking death – do not allow her to leave!”

He denied one charge of obstructing a public officer to lawfully engage in public duty.

Arthur Li at a HKU Council meeting in July. File

Their charges followed a chaotic HKU governing council meeting in January when students surrounded the venue of the first meeting chaired by Li, a pro-Beijing figure whose appointment had stirred controversy. Members were unable to leave the campus for several hours after the meeting ended as students called for the governing body to respond to four demands to reform its structure. Prior to the protest, the students also held a week-long class boycott.

Eric Cheung

Eric is currently a Bachelor of Journalism student at the University of Hong Kong. Eric has his finger on the pulse of Hong Kong events and politics. His work has been published on The Guardian, Reuters and ABC News (America).