A renovation worker has been jailed for 16 months for criminal damage after he took out a knife during a High Court hearing last year.

On October 17 last year, 54-year-old Yu Zulin brought a knife to a hearing presided over by judge Wilson Chan Ka-shun. He threatened to kill Chan and slammed the knife on a table in front of the judge’s seat.

Judge Chan had rejected Yu’s claim filed in 2013 for compensation from the police for injuries caused by officers during an earlier arrest. Yu went through multiple rounds of appeals and the latest one was rejected on the day of the incident.

Yu Zulin. File

Yu surrendered himself to the police on the same day and was remanded since. He was charged with criminal damage – to which he initially said he would plead guilty – as well as criminal intimidation and the possession of an offensive weapon. In August, Yu pleaded not guilty to the three charges.

Deputy District Judge Don So ruled that Yu was guilty of criminal damage, but not guilty of the two other charges.

In mitigation, Yu said he was married three times and had two children, and also had to provide for two parents in their 90s. He said he wished to work to earn an income since he was in debt, and hoped for a lenient sentence.

Police guarding the high court on October 17, 2017 after the knife incident.

Judge So accepted Yu’s testimony that he was planning to use the knife to kill himself at the time and no-one else, as he was “foolishly” trying to force the court to overturn his case. The judge also accepted that when the blade was produced at Chan’s courtroom, it was still wrapped in plastic, and Chan would not have heard Yu’s verbal threats.

Yu was therefore acquitted of possessing an offensive weapon and criminal intimidation.

But Judge So denied Yu’s request to repossess his knife.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.