Hong Kong prosecutors have asked a court to convict two protesters who took part in last February’s Mong Kok clashes of illegal assembly, if they are cleared of the more serious charge of rioting. The move was criticised by the defence as “unfair” at court on Tuesday.

Sung Kwan-wo, 27 and Leo Chan Siu-kwan, 48 are among five defendants currently facing rioting charges only.

mong kok fehd riot protest
File photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Counsel for Sung and Chan replied that the prosecution’s move to request new charges during the closing speech was akin to a “hidden trap,” reported Ming Pao.

Chan’s lawyer previously told the District Court he was at the protests in order to document Hong Kong’s social movements – and not to riot. He added that the Department of Justice has even submitted a video clip filmed by Chan as evidence in the trial of another Mong Kok protester.

The three other defendants charged alongside Chan and Sung are Chris Yung Tsz-hin, 18, Law Ho-yin, 20 and Lin Yun-fat, 26.

Attacked with projectiles

Nine other defendants are facing another joint trial at the District Court on various charges of rioting, criminal damage or assault. Their hearings have taken place not in the Wanchai court building, but at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts due to the large number of defendants.

On Monday and Tuesday, police officers testified at the trial that they were attacked with projectiles thrown by protesters.

mong kok fehd riot protest
Mong Kok unrest. File photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Senior inspector Ng Sin-lung told the court that protesters were aiming their projectiles at the officers’ feet, which were not easily protected using shields.

She added that she received four days of sick leave because of her injuries, while she also saw an officer fall and lose consciousness.

The nine defendants in West Kowloon are: Mo Jia-tao, 18; Chung Chi-wah, 30; Anthony Ho Kam-sum, 37; Fok Ting-ho, 24; Chan Wo-cheung, 71; Tang King-chung, 29; Li Cheuk-hin, 20; Lam Wing-wong, 22; and Yep Chi-fung, 18.

See also: Mong Kok unrest: Defendants claim they were stripped, kicked, and threatened by police

The violent clashes broke out as Food and Environmental Hygiene Department officials attempted to clear street hawkers in Mong Kok in the early hours February 9 last year. The unlicensed hawkers are seen as a part of Hong Kong local identity, and officials have traditionally turned a blind eye to their operations during Lunar New Year.

Four protesters have already been jailed on rioting charges so far. Another admitted to a charge of rioting last week, but has yet to be sentenced.

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.