Intellasia East Asia News – HK protests: man jailed for 4 years over role in National Day riot in 2019

A man has been jailed for four years over his actions during a riot on National Day in 2019, with a Hong Kong judge finding no evidence to support his claim that he had only attacked police at the scene after they assaulted a protester during the disturbance.

Barber’s assistant Yip Ho-hin on Tuesday was sentenced on three charges stemming from the chaos in Tuen Mun, which took place as the city marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 2019.

The 23-year-old was convicted in January of rioting, assaulting a police officer and possessing an instrument fit for unlawful purposes at the District Court-level trial, which was heard at the more spacious West Kowloon Court. His two co-defendants were cleared of taking part in an unlawful assembly due to a lack of evidence proving their involvement.

Protesters had barricaded major thoroughfares and confronted police across the city that day in response to online calls for demonstrations to “blossom everywhere” against the backdrop of official celebrations and events.

Despite the city leader’s withdrawal the month before of a contentious extradition bill that would have allowed for the transfer of fugitives to mainland China, aggrieved residents had continued to take to the streets as they accused police of using excessive force during previous protests against the legislation.

The National Day chaos began as an illegal gathering of over a thousand protesters at Tuen Mun Civic Square at 1pm, with mostly black-clad participants chanting slogans and riot officers watching from a distance.

Protesters stepped on fliers bearing portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping and images of a black bauhinia, and the slogan “Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong, expel the Communist Party” was graffitied on the ground.

The assembly escalated into a riot after protesters attacked police officers in a bid to give a detained woman a chance to escape.

Sporting an all-black outfit, Yip was seen raising a rod-like object and charging towards a group of officers. He was immediately subdued and found to be carrying a can of spray paint in a subsequent search.

The unrest in the area left a total of nine police officers and journalists injured, and cost the nearby Tuen Mun Town Hall HK$1.2 million (US$153,500) to repair damaged glass doors and flower pots.

In his verdict, deputy District Judge David Ko Wai-hung had dismissed Yip’s defence that he had reasonable grounds to believe force was necessary to prevent a “crime”, pointing to a lack of evidence that police had acted beyond their authority in stopping the woman.

Passing sentence on Tuesday, Ko said Yip did not assume a leading role in the riot or plan his attack, but his actions had nonetheless fanned the flames of the confrontation and encouraged others to assault officers.

He sentenced Yip for four years for rioting, six weeks for assaulting a police officer and three months for carrying the spray paint, with all three terms to be served concurrently.

Despite the judiciary’s earlier announcement that all proceedings would be postponed until next month in light of the city’s surging fifth wave of Covid-19 infections, cases in which the accused is awaiting sentence behind bars are allowed to continue.


Category: Hong Kong

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