Localist activist Edward Leung has apologised for assaulting a police officer and said he was “sorry he hurt others that night,” as his trial over the Mong Kok unrest continued on Wednesday.

It was the second day Leung testified at the High Court about the events leading up to the protests which broke out in the early hours of February 9, 2016. The clashes were triggered by the authorities’ attempts to clear street hawkers over Chinese New Year.

Leung earlier pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting a police officer, but has denied three counts of riot-related offences.

Edward Leung Tin-kei
Edward Leung Tin-kei. File Photo: Stand News.

On Wednesday, Leung also told the court he had since reflected on the maxim “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

When asked by his lawyer if he had planned to use violence on the day of the clashes, Leung said he did not.

Leung added that his reason for going to Mong Kok was to support hawkers, to protect the local culture of Hong Kong and – later – to protect the people on the scene. But in the end he “could not suppress his anger.”

Leung also said that, at the time of the unrest, he did not know the other four co-defendants and they were not members of his localist group Hong Kong Indigenous.

high court political prisoner occupy activist protest rally democracy
Photo: In-Media.

During his cross examination, the prosecution pointed to a social media post by Hong Kong Indigenous made on February 7, 2016, which mentioned “valiantly defend local characteristics.” Leung said that he did not write that post and it did not reflect any plans to use violence.

Leung has been remanded in custody since January and faces up to ten years’ imprisonment on conviction of rioting.

Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.