The owner of a Telegram channel popular during the 2019 protests and unrest in Hong Kong has been found guilty of seven counts of conspiracy to incite others to commit offences.

Ng Man-ho, 26, appeared in front of Deputy District Judge Peter Hui at the West Kowloon Law Courts Building on Wednesday. The judge spent more than three hours reciting arguments from the prosecution and the defence from earlier in the trial.

Telegram. File Photo: Ross Richardson.

Ng, who was arrested in August 2020, was the owner and one of three administrators of the SUCK Channel on Telegram. The public channel was created in August 2019, shortly after large-scale protests against a now-axed extradition law unfolded, and had more than 100,000 members at the time of Ng’s arrest.

Over the course of that year, the channel allegedly published 42 posts encouraging law-breaking behaviour, such as producing petrol bombs and joining riots.

The prosecution said that Ng, as the owner and an administrator under the display name SUCKER, had the power to publish and authorise other admins to publish messages. He also had the ability to remove content from the channel.

The prosecution said that Ng must have been aware of the channel’s content, including posts that appeared to incite others to break the law. Not only did Ng provide a platform for others to distribute messages, the prosecution said, he “turned a blind eye” to any inciteful content and failed to remove it.

West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts
West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Ng pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying he never sent messages in the channel. His defence lawyers also argued that there were at many as 15 channel admins at one time and any one of them could have published under the display name SUCKER. It was possible that Ng didn’t receive notifications and was unaware of the channel’s messages, they added.

Hui found Ng guilty of conspiracy to incite others to commit crimes including criminal damage, arson, public nuisance, making of explosives, wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, riot and administering poison with intent to injure.

Ng will appear in court again on May 19 for sentencing.

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Almond Li

Almond Li

Almond Li is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously worked for Reuters and Happs TV as a freelancer, and as a reporter at Hong Kong International Business Channel, Citizen News and Commercial Radio Hong Kong. She earned her Masters in Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has an interest in LGBT+, mental health and environmental issues.