A woman who planned to join Hong Kong’s disciplinary services has been found guilty of unlawful assembly during a protest in November 2019.

Tang Long-ching, 23, appeared in front of magistrate Jeffrey Sze at Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Courts on Tuesday. She stood accused of taking part in an unlawful assembly in Yuen Long on November 11, 2019, according to local media.

File photo: May James/HKFP.

The court heard that Tang graduated from a government-subsidised diploma programme, known locally as Yi Jin, that offered an overview of Hong Kong’s disciplined services in September 2019 and intended to join the disciplinary force afterwards, according to media reports.

She claimed she was on her way to the bus stop and had no intention to join the protest. She said she was only trying to clear the bricks on the streets, which were used as roadblocks by protesters.

When handing down his verdict, Magistrate Sze said he was not convinced by Tang’s testimony, adding she was not an honest and reliable witness. Sze said “it was not uncommon” for people who were interested in joining the disciplinary forces to break the law.

Tuen Mun Law Courts Building. File Photo: Wikicommons.

Sze added he believed Tang wore a mask to cover her identity, instead of her claimed purpose of disease prevention. The magistrate also said that Tang shouted her own name after she was apprehended by police, which was common among protesters who wanted others to know their identity and potentially help them secure legal assistance. He said the defendant clearly wanted people to know she was arrested.

Sze cited the “joint enterprise” principle – whereby a secondary offender may be found guilty of the same charge as a primary defendant – in his reasoning, saying the defendant fled the scene together with other protesters when police chased them down. Sze said that a police officer had testified that Tang held a brick in her hand in the middle of the road.

Tang has been remanded in custody until her sentencing on June 7.

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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.