A Hong Kong woman has been sentenced to three years and five months behind bars for rioting near the government headquarters in Admiralty in 2019.

Lau Yin-sheung appeared in front of Deputy District judge Cheng Lim-chi on Friday, local media reported. She was the last defendant in her case to be sentenced after seven co-defendants were sentenced on Monday. Lau’s sentencing was delayed after she was placed under Covid-19 quarantine.

District Court
District Court in Wan Chai. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Lau and the seven others – namely Tse Hiu-fung, Fung Ki, Tsang Hin-ka, Wong Yuk-cheung, Yau Sin-yu, Fan Yu and a minor who was 14 at the time of the offence – were convicted of taking part in a riot in Admiralty on September 29, 2019.

Cheng said the scale of the riot was “not small,” involving a number of protesters who wore hats and masks in attempts to hide their identities and avoid criminal liability. He set 4.5 years in prison as the sentencing starting point.

September 29, 2019 protest umbrella Admiralty
Protest scenes in Admiralty, Hong Kong on September 29, 2019. Photo: Studio Incendo.

The judge cited Lau’s mitigation, in which her family described the 32-year-old as a motivated and responsible person. Her employer pledged to rehire her in the future, Ming Pao reported.

Cheng said since Lau pleaded guilty in the pre-trial review stage but not earlier, she was only given a 20 per cent sentence reduction. But Cheng further cut her punishment by two months, saying he believed she had made an error in judgement when she committed the offence. She also had a clean criminal record.

Lau was jailed for three years and five months in total. Her other seven co-defendants were jailed for up to four years and seven months.

September 29 clash

A total of 96 people were charged over the clash in Admiralty on September 29, 2019, and they were separated into several cases. Apart from Lau’s sentencing on Friday, the District Court also handled the mitigation of nine people who earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of rioting, local media reported.

They will be sentenced in March next year after the completion of the trial of their two co-defendants who pleaded not guilty.

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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.