Eleven Hong Kong protesters have been found guilty of rioting outside the government headquarters in September 2019 during the anti-extradition bill unrest. The group was remanded into custody to await sentencing next month.
District Judge Frankie Yiu on Tuesday found 11 people guilty of rioting outside the Central Government Offices on Harcourt Road in Admiralty on September 29, 2019, local media reported.
The defendants convicted on Tuesday were Cheung Wai-ching, Cheung Hoi-yan, Cheung Ming-yin, Lam Cheuk-hin, Fung Ho-hin, Ho Mun-hang, Cheng Hiu-yung, Ivan Leung, Tse Tsz-kin, Li Wing-yan and Tracy So. They had each denied the charge.
On that day, chaos erupted on Hong Kong Island as protesters staged an unauthorised “global anti-authoritarianism march” that coincided with rallies held in more than 40 countries. Police deployed water cannon, tear gas and pepper spray to crack down on demonstrators who hurled bricks and petrol bombs. Protesters also set fire to makeshift barricades and vandalised MTR exits.
According to local media, Yiu said the 11 defendants apprehended in the proximity of the government headquarters on the day of offence were not “innocent onlookers,” as they remained at the scene after the riot broke out. They were part of the rioting crowd, the court ruled, and helped “build up the momentum” of the protest.
Yiu rejected Leung and Li’s defence that they were only trying to look for their friends around the protest area and did not engage in rioting. The court ruled that their testimonies were not credible, local media reported.
Taking into account the scope of the riot, the locations of the accused and where they were subdued, as well as their attire and gear, Yiu ruled that the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that each defendant had taken part in the riot.
The judge ordered all defendants to be remanded into custody pending sentencing on September 9. The court will seek background reports on all of the accused in the meantime, local media reported, while those aged 21 or below will be assessed to see if they are suitable for sentencing to a training centre for rehabilitation.
Defendants Cheung Wai-cing and Fung Ho-hin were absent from Tuesday’s hearing after testing positive for Covid-19 and being placed under quarantine. The court will handle matters linked to the pair on September 5.
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