A paramedic has been jailed for two years and four months for charges linked to a protest in November 2019, where he and other protesters were accused of assaulting a bystander from mainland China who refused to erase photos of the scene from their phone.

West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts
West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Au Yeung Chun Fai appeared in front of Deputy District Judge Leung Ka-kie at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Monday afternoon.

The 31-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty to taking part in a riot in Mong Kok on the night of November 11, 2019, when pro-democracy protesters had called for a general strike and blocked roads across different districts in attempts to disrupt commutes.

He was initially accused of wounding Yang Xuezhi, a bystander from mainland China, with intent as well. The court allowed that charge to be kept on file after Au Yeung’s plea.

When sentencing Au Yeung on Monday, the judge said that he had indeed participated in the assault on Yang. “The defendant’s actions could have radicalised others and encouraged them to take part in the attack, thus worsening the situation,” Leung said.

The judge added that Au Yeung had acted against his ethics as a paramedic, saying his behaviour “cast doubt” on his passion for rescue work stated during mitigation.

Additionally, Leung said the area affected by the riot was “not small,” as up to 300 protesters had gathered near the crossroads of Nathan Road and Argyle Street that night, bringing the traffic in the busy streets of Mong Kok to a halt.

mong kok november 11
Protests erupted in Mong Kok on November 11, 2019. File photo: Tam Ming Keung/United Social Press.

Traffic lights, railings and some buses were damaged after the incident, the judge added.

The judge, however, agreed with the defence that the assault on Yang was unplanned. After hearing that Au Yeung had already compensated the victim’s medical fee of HK$5,330 as promised in his plea, and taking into account the guilty plea discount, she sentenced the defendant to 28 months of imprisonment.

‘Bullying and cruel’

According to the judge, Yang was surrounded by protesters at around 9:30 p.m. that night, after he refused to delete photos he had taken at the scene. Protesters then assaulted Yang for nine minutes straight.

Around 15 to 20 protesters started to attack the mainlander with fists, umbrellas and rods. At 9:33 p.m., the defendant was filmed hitting the head and neck of Yang with his hand at least five times in around a minute.

Yang attempted to escape but failed. More protesters came forward and used umbrellas to block Yang’s way and the sight of the press.

mong kok november 11
Protesters blocked main streets of Mong Kok on November 11, 2019. File photo: Tam Ming Keung/United Social Press.

After Yang collapsed to the ground, several members of the public and the press tried to stop the violence, but Leung said around 50 protesters went on to surround and assault the bystander until police dispersed the crowd.

The judge said the nine minutes of assault was “lengthy” to Yang, and protesters had “acted in a bullying and cruel manner” as they continued to attack the victim when he was already on the ground.

Yang suffered injuries to “almost his entire body” with fractured bones in his neck and left middle finger, the judge added. He was hospitalised for three days.

Yang lost his phone, wallets and identification documents in the incident as well.

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 police conduct, amnesty for those arrested and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.” 

Support HKFP  |  Policies & Ethics  |  Error/typo?  |  Contact Us  |  Newsletter  | Transparency & Annual Report | Apps

Help safeguard press freedom & keep HKFP free for all readers by supporting our team

contribute to hkfp methods
YouTube video

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit.

Success! You're on the list.

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.