A Hong Kong man has been jailed for six months after pleading guilty to inciting others to harm the police with intent. He was said to have left comments on an online forum a day after a man stabbed an officer on the city’s Handover anniversary before taking his own life in 2021.

District Court
District Court. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Deputy District Judge Edward Wong on Thursday meted out the prison term to 38-year-old Lai Chit, who pleaded guilty to one count of inciting others to wound with intent. The defendant made a post on discussion forum LIHKG about the stabbing of a police officer on July 1, 2021, including how to use a knife and encouraging others to spread Covid-19 to the police.

According to the prosecution’s case, Lai left comments on a post titled “technical discussion on how to use a knife” a day after a uniform officer was knifed in Causeway Bay by Leung Kin-fai, who killed himself with the same knife shortly after the attack.

The stabbing was labelled as a “lone wolf local terrorist act” by Secretary for Security Chris Tang, who said those who mourned Leung’s death were encouraging violence and inciting hatred.

Phone seized

Lai’s phones seized by the police were found to be logged into a LIHKG account. which had left remarks including “the shape of the knife is very important” and “[it] should have a pointed tip.” The account also talked about ways to “achieve the maximum stabbing force,” and shared two photos including one featuring a person wounding someone’s neck.

Police later found that Lai’s LIHKG account contained many posts relating to political issues, including expressions of support for the anti-extradition bill protests in 2019.

Forum LIHKG. Photo: Almond Li/HKFP.

Under police caution, Lai said he was only replying to a post on the forum and shared “culinary tips” from a butcher and meat vendor.

In his reasons for sentencing, Wong said Lai’s case was not as serious compared to similar cases in the past. The duration of the offence was short and the defendant was not influential, the judge said.

Wong imposed nine months of imprisonment as the starting point of Lai’s sentence and rejected the defence’s argument that the jail term should reduced because of the duration of the proceedings. He said the defence had requested an adjournment of 7.5 months and the remaining time of around 1.5 years was “not too long.”

Lai was eventually sentenced to six months behind bars after the court offered him a one-third discount because of his guilty plea.

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Ho Long Sze Kelly is a Hong Kong-based journalist covering politics, criminal justice, human rights, social welfare and education. As a Senior Reporter at Hong Kong Free Press, she has covered the aftermath of the 2019 extradition bill protests and the Covid-19 pandemic extensively, as well as documented the transformation of her home city under the Beijing-imposed national security law.

Kelly has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration. Prior to joining HKFP in 2020, she was on the frontlines covering the 2019 citywide unrest for South China Morning Post’s Young Post. She also covered sports and youth-related issues.