Twenty-two year-old culinary student Ip Cheuk-yin has admitted to one count of conspiracy to commit arson in relation to a rubbish bin explosion outside the Legislative Council in December 2015.

His co-defendant, former president of The Shue Yan University Student Union Joe Yeung Yat-long, has pleaded not guilty. The trial commenced on Thursday morning at the District Court.

legco bin
File Photo: HKFP remix.

The arson attack and explosion occurred at around 8:30pm on December 9, 2015 after a planned rally against a controversial new copyright bill was cancelled by organisers. No one was injured.

The police made a series of arrests, and charges against three defendants were dropped last July due to a lack of evidence. The cases of the remaining two defendants were transferred to the District Court.

wanchai law court
Photo: Google Maps.

The prosecution is planning to summon 21 witnesses. According to the charges, Yeung and Ip, along with a several others they became acquainted with online, caused one of the rubbish bins at the demonstration area outside the Legislative Council building to explode. Ip admitted following his arrest that he was in charge of keeping watch.

Charges also say that Yeung had asked for his friends’ assistance in buying newspaper and alcohol – items which were exchanged at a bathroom near the building – and that Yeung had been next to the rubbish bin when the incident happened.

Ip has been released on conditional bail.

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.