A postgraduate science student who said he had been trying to help a Hong Kong protester shot by police has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for taking part in an illegal National Day rally in 2019.

tsang chi kin shot in the chest  Oct 1 2019
Protester Tsang Chi-kin was shot in the chest by police on October 1, 2019 during a protest in Tsuen Wan. Photo: CityU Editorial Board video screenshot.

Yau Wang-tat, 28, was handed the prison sentence at the District Court on Friday, HK01 reported.

He admitted taking part in the protest in Tsuen Wan, one of the most intense clashes between demonstrators and police during the months of anti-extradition bill protests that year.

Tsang Chi-kin
Tsang Chi-kin.

The protester who was shot in the chest — Tsang Chi-kin, who was 19 at the time — was also a defendant in the same case. Tsang left Hong Kong last year and has been classified as a wanted fugitive since December 2020.

Over 200 protesters gathered on Hoi Pa Street that day and threw bricks at police, prosecutors alleged. They conceded however that Yau had remained behind other protesters and did not throw anything.

YouTube video

Yau told the court he had intended to help Tsang after realising he had been shot, and had raised his arms in the air to indicate to police nearby that he had no intention of assaulting them.

Footage shot by student journalists showed Yau pressed to the ground by an officer while shouting that someone had been shot.

Yau said he had completed a doctorate in applied physics at Polytechnic University after his arrest and his work had been published in an internationally renowned journal.

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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.