|Riot police move forward to the protesters on a street in Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016.(Edmond Tang / China Daily)|
HONG KONG – A 32-year-old technician was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for rioting and another jail term of four years and three months for setting a taxi on fire in a riot that erupted on the Chinese New Year's eve in Mong Kok last year. The sentences will run concurrently.
Yeung Ka-lun was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for rioting and another jail term of four years and three months for arson during the 2016 Mong Kok riot
Yeung Ka-lun was the first to be convicted of arson related to the riot.
Justice Anthony Kwok Kai-on said Monday he was saddened while handing down the sentence. He hoped the quantum of sentence would send a message to radical youth about the legal consequences of challenging the law.
Kwok also urged the youth not to break the law owing to error in judgment and go past the point of no return.
The Judge said the violence at Mong Kok, a busy commercial area, should be taken very seriously. The court believed in the need to maintain public order and to send a warning to prevent reccurrence of similar incidents, Kwok said.
The judge also noted that around 60 people were involved in the riot, having played varied roles. He pointed out that all would face legal consequences since the riot was a premeditated illegal assembly.
Yeung was the first to be convicted of arson relating to the Mong Kok riot. He was accused of rioting and setting taxi on fire in Soy Street in Mong Kok on Feb 9, 2016, and arrested subsequently.
The riot, first of such since the handover in 1997, saw hundreds of masked protesters tossing bricks pried from the pavement at unarmed police officers and setting fires on the street, leaving some a hundred police officers injured. Footages of violent clashes shocked the city and the world.
According to police, 90 people – 79 men and 11 women - were arrested on various charges including rioting, arson, illegal assembly, assaulting and resisting police officers. So far, at least eight have been sentenced relating to the unrest.
Speaking after the sentencing, Chan Shun-ching, chief inspector of the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said that the quantum of sentence was a clear indication of the severity of the crime. He iterated that violence of any kind would not be tolerated.
Three other rioters were sentenced three years in jail on March 17 in District Court, for taking part in the riot .
While announcing the conviction last week, District Court Judge Anthony Kwok Kai-on had said he would sentence Yeung to imprisonment and would study precedence in deciding the term of imprisonment.
Yeung's identity was confirmed from a series of video footages.