Seven police officers were convicted of assault on Tuesday against activist Ken Tsang during the pro-democracy Occupy protests in 2014.

They were convicted of the charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and face a maximum of three years in prison.

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Ken Tsang. File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Constable Chan Siu-tan was convicted of an additional charge of common assault for slapping Tsang twice on his face inside the Central Police Station. The offence carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.

All seven policemen were originally charged with the more serious offence of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, but were acquitted.

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Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

The officers avoided the large group of journalists waiting in front of the court by taking the side door. They all wore the same outfit – blue blazers and white shirts with black and red ties. Tsang was not present at the verdict.

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A defendant entering the District Court. Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

Outside the Wanchai court, pro-police protesters chanted against Tsang, a former member of the pro-democracy Civic Party: “Civic Party messes up Hong Kong! Support the seven police officers – they aren’t guilty for enforcing the law!”

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“Thank you to the seven heroes, Hong Kong citizens support you!” Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.
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Pro-police supporters wearing slogans criticising Ken Tsang. Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

Pro-police figures including Leticia Lee of the Justice Alliance Party and Fu Chun-Chung of the Defend Hong Kong Campaign were at the scene.

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Leticia Lee. Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.
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Fu Chun-chung. Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

“Look at these rioters who don’t abide by the law… these yellow ribbons [pro-democracy supporters] have damaged our rule of law and economy,” they shouted.

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“There is justice in the world. Acquit the seven policemen and go home.” Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

Pro-democracy protesters were also present, calling for the conviction of the seven policemen.

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A pro-democracy protester. Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

A pro-democracy activist surnamed Chao told HKFP that the ruling was just. “I think the ruling is okay – they face a maximum of three years in prison for something they did in a span of a few minutes,” he said.

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Mr. Chao, a pro-democracy protester. Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

“I was also beaten up by police – even worse than Ken Tsang – during the Occupy protests,” added Chao. “But no one filmed it so there was no justice. Self-sacrifice is expected if you choose to get involved.”

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Before the verdict was announced, a small scuffle broke out between the two sides. It was broken up by police officers.

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Photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

The seven defendants were remanded in custody. Judge David Dufton will hand down the sentence at a later date.

Additional reporting by Elson Tong. 

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.