A Hong Kong protester was sentenced on Monday to five and a half years behind bars for biting off part of a police officer’s finger and breaking the finger of another officer during protests in Sha Tin New Town Plaza in 2019.

To Kai-wa, now 24, was convicted of behaving in a disorderly manner in a public place, assaulting a police officer, inflicting grievous bodily harm and wounding with intent. District court judge Johnny Chan handed down the sentence, Stand News reported.

The defendant To Kai-wah. Photo: Stand News.

To was arrested at the plaza following a scuffle between anti-extradition bill protesters and police on July 14, 2019. The police commissioner at the time, Stephen Lo, said part of an officer’s ring finger was bitten off.

To was also accused of assaulting a second policeman with an umbrella, breaking a bone in the finger of that officer.

Chan said the police sergeant’s witness statement, that he had not pressed his fingers into the defendant’s eye, was credible. He said the force To used when he bit the officer’s finger “was way over what would be reasonable force to defend for oneself.”

The judge said defence claims that To bit the officer in a reflex action was a “fanciful possibility.”

Protests erupted in Sha Tin New Town Plaza, July 14, 2019. File Photo: inmediahk.net via CC 2.0.

To was 22 and a fresh graduate of the University of Hong Kong at the time. Defence lawyers said he had no previous record and did not pose a threat to the community. They asked the judge to consider other options apart from imprisonment.


Selina Cheng

Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.