HK protests: apprentice electrician gets 4 months’ jail for taking part in unlawful assembly in 2019

19-Oct-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:02 AM Print This Post

An apprentice electrician has been jailed for four months for taking part in an unlawful assembly during a citywide strike amid the 2019 Hong Kong protests.

Tom Wong Ho-man, 20, was caught carrying a stick and protective gear, such as gloves and knee caps, when police chased protesters who trashed traffic lights at the junction of Lion Rock Tunnel Road and Che Kung Miu Road in Sha Tin on November 11.

The incident fell on one of the most eventful days of the social unrest, when protesters organised a citywide strike, calling on business owners, employees and students to skip work and boycott classes, and disrupted traffic in major thoroughfares.

On Monday, Wong’s defence lawyers pleaded for leniency, adding that he had learned his lesson after committing the offence on impulse while under the influence of the social environment.

But Magistrate Stephanie Tsui May-har of Sha Tin Court found immediate imprisonment was inevitable even for a first-time offender such as Wong, given that his act of assembling with others posed a risk to public order and safety.

The same magistrate had previously cleared Wong of a separate charge of criminal damage, after finding the prosecution did not have enough evidence to prove he had vandalised the traffic lights, or even how they had been damaged.

Tsui also acquitted his co-defendant, 20-year-old student Lee Pui-yu, of an unlawful assembly charge as she could not be sure of her involvement, in light of inconsistencies in officers’ testimonies.

Both defendants applied for costs over their respective acquittals but were unsuccessful following objections from the prosecution.

Unlawful assembly is punishable by five years in prison, but the sentence is capped at two years when the case is heard by a magistrate.


Category: Hong Kong

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