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Tuesday, August 9, 2016, 15:24

23 accused in Mong Kok riot appear in court

By Dara Wang

23 accused in Mong Kok riot appear in court
Rioters set fires on a street in Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, Feb 9, 2016. (Edmond Tang / China Daily)

HONG KONG - Three of the 23 people arrested in the wake of the Chinese New Year’s riot in Mong Kok were charged with extra counts apart from rioting, including criminal damage, assaulting police officers and arson, the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday.

Principal Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen continued to hear riot charges against the 23, suspected to have taken part in the shocking and violent protests in February.

Charges against another four were dropped due to lack of sufficient evidence upon the prosecution’s request.

Among the three who were charged with additional counts on Tuesday was 17-year-old Mo Jia-tao, a waiter. He faces three counts of taking part in a riot, criminal damage and assaulting a police officer.

Thus far, about 80 suspects have been arrested in connection with the violent protest. More than 100 people including police officers and civilians were injured in the clash.

The protest-turned-riot shocked the world, tarnishing Hong Kong’s reputation for rule of law and a low crime rate. Hundreds of radical activists were seen hurling bricks, setting trash bins ablaze and beating police officers who were knocked down and outnumbered by the protesters.

According to the Public Order Ordinance, anyone convicted of a riot charge is liable to imprisonment of up to 10 years.

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