In this Feb 9, 2016 photo, rioters set fires on a street in Mong Kok district of Hong Kong. (Edmond Tang / China Daily)
HONG KONG – The District Court on Monday found three more people guilty of rioting during the Mong Kok unrest that erupted on the Chinese New Year day last year.
The three – Chris Yung Tsz-hin, 18, Law Ho-yin, 20 and Lin Yun-faat, 26 – were the second group of suspects convicted of rioting in relation to the violent unrest. They were remanded in custody pending sentencing.
Passing down his verdict, judge Frankie Yiu Fun-che said the scene at the riot was “rather shocking” as over a 100 people, some with masks on, threw bricks and hurled bamboo sticks. Yiu described such behavior as “threatening” and “provocative”, which without doubt sabotaged social stability.
Yiu held that Yung and Law were the two who were filmed holding glass bottles near the crowd in the riot, as the pair wore the same shirts, trousers and sneakers when they were caught.
Meanwhile, Yiu said Lin was “undoubtedly” participating in the riot as Lin was captured in video footage in which he was among the other protesters in a standoff that night.
The court will hear mitigation submissions on Aug 7 before passing down sentences on the trio.
According to the Public Order Ordinance, rioting carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. But the District Court is limited to passing down a maximum 7-year jail term.
Members of the first group – including two college students and one cook – found guilty of rioting were sentenced to three-year prison terms in March this year. In April, a 32-year-old technician Yeung Ka-lun was sentenced to a four-year-nine-month jail term for rioting and arson.
The court on Monday acquitted two – Leo Chan Siu-kwan and Sung Kwan-wo – who had each faced one count of rioting.
The riot, which hit the popular Hong Kong tourist spot of Mong Kok hours after the Lunar New Year festivities began, saw protesters throw bricks and set fire to public facilities, leaving around 100 police officers and at least four reporters injured.
The police have so far arrested 90 people – 79 men and 11 women – in connection with the riot. They face charges ranging from rioting to arson and illegal assembly to assaulting and resisting police officers. Up to date, nine have been convicted.
In April this year, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said one of the Department of Justice’s major focuses in the next year lay in facilitating criminal prosecutions related to the Mong Kok riot and the illegal “Occupy Central” movement which took place in 2014.