Three people have been sentenced to up to 44 months for rioting near a Sha Tin shopping mall in September 2019, when Hong Kong was in the midst of months-long protests and unrest.
Chan Lok-yi, 26, and Chau Kam-wai, 25 – a couple – and Edmund Wong, 45, appeared before District Judge Adriana Noelle Tse Ching on Tuesday. The trio were convicted of rioting in January. Chau was also found guilty of obstructing a police officer in discharging his duty.
Chan was handed a 41-month sentence, Chau received 44 months for two charges and Wong was jailed for 40 months.
The trio were accused of taking part in a riot near New Town Plaza in Sha Tin on September 22, 2019. Judge Tse said it was premeditated and organised, with more than 100 people joining and taking up distinct roles, Inmedia reported.
Tse also said it did not take the protesters long to paralyse traffic in the densely populated area, adding that road blocks were set on fire, risking people’s lives and potentially causing damage to property.
Tse said the incident was not the most serious among cases of a similar nature, but a heavy sentence was needed to deter others. She set the starting point of sentencing for the riot charge at three and a half years.
As for Chau, Tse said he disregarded the law when he decided to try pull Chan away, adding that police had the right to enforce the law when a riot broke out.
In mitigation, Chan said “it was difficult to determine what is right or wrong in politics,” but Tse said she had not been prosecuted for her political stance, adding that the defendant intentionally joined the protests, according to Inmedia.
Wong, who was a real estate agent, pleaded for leniency, saying he was not able to become a registered engineer because of this case. Tse said he only had himself to blame and that if he really cared, he should not have committed the offence in the first place.
Chan and Wong received a one-month and three-month sentence deduction, respectively, for their charity work. Chau also received a one-month discount for the riot charge.
Protests erupted in June 2019 over a since-axed extradition bill. They escalated into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police behaviour, amid calls for democracy and anger over Beijing’s encroachment. Demonstrators demanded an independent probe into the police conduct, amnesty for those arrested and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.”
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