A 19-year-old student has been sentenced to a stint at a rehabilitation centre on Tuesday for throwing a bag of items onto a railway, assaulting police and possessing dozens of iron nails during an anti-extradition law protest in November 2019.

Lee Chak-fai, who was only 16 at the time of the incident, was found guilty last month on three charges – endangering safety of railway passengers, assaulting police, and possessing articles with intent to destroy or damage property.

Anti-extradition protesters called for a city-wide strike on November 12, 2019. File photo: Studio Incendo.

Lee was accused of throwing a bag of trash onto an East Rail Line track in Tai Wai on November 12, 2019, when pro-democracy protesters called for a general city-wide strike. A police officer then identified himself and shouted at Lee, who responded by attempting to punch him, according to local media. After Lee was subdued, police found 64 iron nails in his backpack.

Shatin Magistrates’ Courts. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

On Tuesday, Lee appeared in front of magistrate Pang Leung-ting at the Shatin law courts building for his sentencing. Lee’s defence lawyer submitted three mitigation letters from Lee himself, Lee’s parents, and his younger sister, local media reported. The student was described as a responsible son and sibling.

Pang said endangering the safety of railway passengers was the more severe offence, adding that a deterrent sentence was needed. Pang also said that, even though the police officer was not injured by Lee, his attack was a “challenge to the rule of law,” and might have encouraged others to follow suit.

Pang said it was heart-breaking that Lee gave up classes and exams to join the strike, adding the teenager probably committed the offences because he was immature. At the end of the hearing, Pang called on Lee’s school to allow him to return after his sentence.

Support HKFP  |  Code of Ethics  |  Error/typo?  |  Contact Us  |  Newsletter  | Transparency & Annual Report

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit, Hong Kong Free Press is #PressingOn with impartial, award-winning, frontline coverage.