A participant in the Mong Kok unrest has told the court that he did not personally know localist Edward Leung and was not a member of his party, Hong Kong Indigenous, as the rioting trial continues in the High Court.

Leung and five others are facing trial for rioting charges over their involvement in the Mong Kok unrest, which broke out in February 2016 after authorities attempted to clear street hawkers. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in jail.

Photo: Kris Cheng, HKFP.

Leung gave testimony last week. Lo Kin-man, another defendant in the case, testified on Monday that he was an active participant in social movements such as anti-parallel trading and protection of country parks. He is also a photographer and carried his camera with him on the night of the events.

The 31-year-old legal clerk said he saw a hygiene officer trying to drive street hawkers away in Mong Kok a day before the unrest. He said he became angry, swearing at the officer and vowing to return the next day to support the street hawkers.

Lo said he knew the unlicensed street stalls were illegal but added that, as it was Chinese New Year, the authorities should not act so ruthlessly towards the hawkers who were trying to make extra income.

File photo: In-Media.

Lo said that on February 8, he first went for a hike during the day and then had dinner in Mong Kok. He said he wanted to take photos and purchase snacks from street hawkers, and later helped a street hawker push his cart to Portland Street. Later that night, he also witnessed someone angrily telling off a hygiene officer, as well as what appeared to be a traffic accident involving a taxi, he said.

The court heard that a police officer who knew Lo accused him that night of throwing an object, but Lo denied it and told the officer that it was thrown by someone standing behind him. Lo then retreated to Argyle Street and was arrested for obstructing a police officer around three in the morning.

During the cross-examination, the prosecution questioned why there was a missing section in a sequence of 10 clips that were submitted to the court as evidence. The prosecution asked Lo if he had deleted footage that was unfavourable to him, but he denied having done so.

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.