A Hong Kong man has been sentenced to seven years behind bars after he was convicted over an attempt to snatch a police shotgun during a protest in 2019.

The District Court handed down its maximum sentence on Wednesday when it jailed construction worker Tse Shun-shing, local media reported.

File Photo: HKFP/Tom Grundy.

The 31-year-old had admitted to assaulting police and taking part in an unlawful assembly outside Grand Plaza in Mong Kok on October 13, 2019, a day when Hong Kong was rocked by citywide police-protester clashes. Tse pleaded not guilty to attempting to grab a shotgun from a police officer, but was convicted after trial.

According to local media, in meting out the maximum penalty, District Judge Adriana Tse Ching said the limitation of the District Court’s sentencing could not sufficiently reflect the protester’s criminal liability.

Tse’s co-defendant Chan Ka-chun, 18, was sentenced to a rehabilitation centre for resisting arrest, reports said.

Insulting Chinese flag

In a separate protest-related case, 24-year-old technician Wong Cheuk-lai was incarcerated for four years and seven months after he was found guilty of four charges including insulting the Chinese national flag and arson.

China flag Hong Kong handover July 1, 2021
A flag-raising ceremony in Hong Kong. Photo: Studio Incendo.

Wong was said to have taken down a Chinese flag in the Tung Chung Swimming Pool which was later desecrated publicly by other protesters. The court also found him guilty of setting fire to water barricades, banners, and other objects outside the pool on September 1, 2019.

Local media reported that District Judge Anthony Kwok said arson and attempted arson were serious offences which could lead to severe consequences that Wong did not expect. The court also ordered Wong to pay compensation to the construction company that owned the water barricades.

Last month, Hong Kong’s legislature passed a bill that criminalises the desecration of the Chinese national flag and national emblem on the internet. The new law also stipulates requirements for primary and secondary education on what the government described as important national symbols.

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Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.