The High Court has handed a 73-year-old homeless man four months in jail, and suspended jail sentences to 14 others for criminal contempt of court after they blocked the clearance of the 2014 Occupy protest site in Mong Kok.

They were charged with failing to comply with a court injunction to clear the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protest site. Five people including Yung Yiu-sing, Siew Yun-long, Man For-on, Chan Pak-tao and Lou Tit-man pleaded not guilty, but Mr Justice Andrew Chan found the five guilty in August.

Lou, a 73-year-old man who said he was homeless and living near the Occupy site during the clearance, was handed the highest sentence of four months behind bars.

Lou Tit-man. File

The Mong Kok protest camp was cleared on November 25, 2014, when bailiffs implemented an injunction order with the assistance of police. More than 100 people were arrested for failing to vacate the area.

Mr Justice Andrew Chan said in his judgment that Lou had “deep and extensive” involvement in the protest. Chan did not accept Lou’s statement that he wished to leave the site but was unable to do so before his arrest.

“Mr Lou was seen standing on an elevated platform in the middle of Arygle Street and holding a yellow banner demanding universal suffrage when broadcast was being made to the crowd.  He was also seen in rendering assistance to the seemingly organiser of the protest in the removal of the elevated platform,” Chan wrote.

“After its removal, Mr Lou was seen returning to the Area and continuing his defiance by standing at the forefront of the police check line till his arrest by the police,” Chan added. “Despite his extensive involvement, it is however accepted that Mr Lou did not engage himself in any unlawful and violent act.  Nor did he put up any resistance when being arrested by the police.”

Police during the clearance of the Occupy protest site in Mong Kok. Photo: HKFP/Tom Grundy.

Yung was handed two months in jail, suspended for 18 months. Siew, Man and Chan Pak-tao were given six weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months. The four also have to pay a fine of HK$15,000.

Ten other people pleaded guilty in the case. Seven of them received a month in jail, suspended for a year plus a HK$10,000 fine. Three received a month in jail, suspended for a year.

Mong Kok injunction cases

The case originally involved 17 people. Activist Alvin Cheng and another protester Au Yuk-Kwan were sentenced to three months in jail and one month suspended for a year respectively, after they pleaded guilty to criminal contempt.

In a separate but related case heard by Andrew Chan, pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Raphael Wong were sentenced to three months and four-and-a-half months behind bars respectively for playing a significant role in obstructing the clearance operation. They are both appealing.

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.