HK protests: former lawmaker convicted of causing hearing loss to police officer by shouting through loudhailer at anti-government rally

08-Apr-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

An ousted Hong Kong lawmaker was on Monday convicted of causing hearing loss to a police officer by shouting through a loudhailer at an anti-government rally eight months ago.

Au Nok-hin was also found guilty by Kowloon City Court of attacking another officer in the same incident on July 8, when a rally against the now-withdrawn extradition bill descended into clashes between protesters and police.

The 32-year-old former politician was allowed bail until he is sentenced on April 24, pending a community service order report.

Former lawmaker Au Nok-hin at the Kowloon City Court on April 6, 2020. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Former lawmaker Au Nok-hin at the Kowloon City Court on April 6, 2020. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Prosecutors said that, during a stand-off between protesters and police in Yau Ma Tei on that day, Au attacked Constable Kwan Chi-ho by hitting his shield thrice using a microphone.

Moments later, Au yelled at Superintendent Ko Chun-pong through the loudspeaker, damaging his hearing in the right ear.

Au denied two counts of assaulting an officer in a trial earlier this year, saying he was trying to stop police from forcing their way through a crowd of 20 journalists gathering on Nathan Road near Dundas Street and Hamilton Street.

But Magistrate Leung Ka-kie found the defence unreasonable, saying Au must have realised he could not have stopped the procession of Kwan and other officers, who were merely following their superiors’ orders to clear the scene.

She accepted Kwan’s testimony that he was shocked by Au’s violent reaction.

“[Kwan] was dumbfounded, and subsequently gripped his shield. Such evidence adequately reflects that [Kwan] faced an immediate concern of being assaulted by Au,” Leung said.

Even if the attack was not intentional, she continued, Au must have caused Kwan to fear for his safety, especially when he became so emotional that he directed curses at the officer and had to be pulled back by lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho, who was also at the scene.

Leung also found Au guilty of battering Ko by speaking to him through the loudhailer at arm’s length.

“The sound of the loudhailer was apparently irritating, and talking through it continuously must have caused discomfort to the ear,” she added.

Prosecutor Vivien Chan Man-wai urged the magistrate to disregard Au’s clear criminal record and send him to jail. “Attacking an officer who is simply carrying out his public duty deserves no sympathy from the court,” she said.

Defence counsel Robert Pang Yiu-hung SC said Au had hoped to talk to police and quell the conflict, but officers ignored his request and endangered the gathering crowd by charging forward.

“As a lawmaker, he hoped to bridge the communication and play down the incident, so that protesters would leave the scene and officers could carry out their operation,” Pang said, asking the court to impose a non-custodial sentence so that Au could pursue a doctorate degree in Japan later this year.

Leung adjourned sentencing to assess Au’s suitability to be handed a community service order.

Au, who served as a guest lecturer at the Community College of City University, feared his conviction would bar him from teaching again, discouraging educators from expressing political views. “I’m very worried about whether, after this incident, there is still a place for me in the education sector,” he said outside court.

Au was unseated last September by the High Court following a successful election petition by his pro-democracy ally Agnes Chow Ting. He was the first lawmaker to be charged over the anti-government protests that have rocked Hong Kong since June last year.



Category: Hong Kong

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