Eight people have been jailed for up to five years after after being found guilty of rioting and other charges related to a protest on China’s National Day in 2019.

West Kowloon Law Courts Building. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Lee Chui-ting, 22, Ho Sin-hong, 22, Yeung Yam-to, 24, Fong Wing-man, 28, Sung Chiu-pang, 27, Lui Kin-cheong, 32, Wong Yim Yuen, 25, and Chan Man-chak,22, appeared in front of District Judge Kathie Cheung at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Monday morning.

They were earlier found guilty of rioting near Tsim Sha Tsui on October 1, 2019, when pro-democracy protesters hurled petrol bombs and other objects at the district’s police station.

The judge ruled that all defendants had participated in the riot based on their clothing, the gear they carried and where they were arrested.

Additionally, Ho, Fong, Sung, Lui and Chan were found guilty of possessing offensive weapons in a public place, including telescopic sticks, modified iron rods, iron hammers, catapults and pellets and laser pointers.

Separately, Lee was convicted of possessing an offensive weapon after being found with a pair of iron hand cuffs, and Yeung was found guilty of possessing things with intent to destroy or damage property after he was found with a spanner and an utility knife.

While the defence lawyers had urged the judge to hand down lighter sentences as there was no evidence proving any of the defendants had engaged in violent acts, Cheung said the sentencing of rioting charges should based on the overall incident instead of individual behaviour.

Protesters on October 1, 2019. File photo: Aidan Marzo/HKFP.

In addition, the judge said there had been around 1,000 people assembled outside of the Tsim Sha Tsui Police Station at that time, and these people “knew they had breached the law and intended to evade legal consequences” as some wore facial coverings and dark clothing.

Cheung said that all eight defendants “came prepared” as they were wearing similar attire and some carried offensive weapons or tools that could be used to damage property. She added that the personal safety of police officers and members of the public was at risk as petrol bombs and other objects were thrown at the police station.

“[The protesters] disregarded the law, clashed with the police… and challenged the authority of the police and the rule of law – I think this constitutes the seriousness of this case,” Cheung said.

Cheung sentenced Lee, Fong, Sung, Lui and Chan to four years and nine months in jail, while Ho was handed five years of imprisonment as Cheung said he had carried a telescopic stick and an iron hammer “which can do serious damage to other people.”

Yeung and Wong were given four years and seven months in jail as they did not challenge the prosecution’s witnesses and saved the court’s time.

A co-defendant of the eight, Law Wai-lok did not appear in court on Monday after not surrendering himself into custody.

Law was also convicted of the same rioting charges after it was found that he had hurled petrol bombs at the incident.

Correction 3 p.m.: An earlier version of this article misstated that Chan Man-chak and Yeung Yam-to were sentenced to four years and seven months, when it should have been Wong Yim Yuen and Yeung Yam-to who received that sentence. We regret the error.

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Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.