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Friday, October 7, 2016, 01:04

Activist jailed for 9 months over role in MK riot

By Shadow Li

HONG KONG - A member of a local radical group was jailed for nine months for assaulting police officers and resisting arrest during the Mong Kok riot in early February at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday. This is the first conviction in relation to the riot.

Chan Pak-yeung, 30, was found guilty of two charges - assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest by police in the execution of their duties.

In passing down the sentence, Magistrate So Wai-tak condemned the defendant’s behavior, which showed no regard for the law and could have led to chaos.

The sentence should serve as a deterrent, otherwise it will subject frontline police officers to harm and undermine their morale, he noted.

Chan is one of 35 people facing different criminal charges for taking part in the riot which shocked Hong Kong. About 140 police officers and civilians were injured during the clashes. Some masked radical protesters were caught on live television throwing bricks pried from the pavements at police officers trying to maintain order.

Chan’s case was the first in connection to the riot to be heard by the court.

The court was told that Chan, at around 3 am on Feb 9, the second day of the Lunar New Year, threw plastic bottles at police officers twice in Mong Kok. He also kicked officers while being arrested. So said though Chan didn’t use deadly weapons, he acted like a mobster and targeted police officers. His act of throwing bottles at police officers was like treating them as “live targets”, he added.

Chan, in earlier hearings, denied the charge. He claimed that he wasn’t the person that assaulted the police and was merely there to see what happened after he learned about the clashes on the news. Chan claimed that he was mistakenly targeted for having assaulted police within 15 minutes after arriving at the scene.

But So dismissed Chan’s defense. He said it didn’t make sense for someone who claimed he only wanted to know what was going on, to have brought gloves and a neck warmer with him. Neck warmers are often used as masks to cover protesters’ faces.

The magistrate further contended that if Chan’s intention was merely to question police officers’ “unprovoked” arrest, he should have done this verbally. Instead, Chan threw plastic bottles at police officers. As shown on a video clip that was submitted as evidence, Chan later violently resisted arrest for three minutes.

So said the three police officers, called to the stand to testify about this, were reliable witnesses as they didn’t change their story despite cross-examination.

Chan’s application for bail pending his appeal was rejected by the court.

stushadow@chinadailyhk.com

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