Hong Kong court docket convicts 4 individuals of rioting over storming of legislature in 2019 protests


A Hong Kong court docket convicted 4 individuals Thursday for rioting over the storming of the town’s legislative council constructing on the peak of the anti-government protests greater than 4 years in the past.

The break-in on July 1, 2019 — the twenty second anniversary of the previous British colony’s return to China — was one of the crucial chaotic episodes of the large protests sparked by a now-withdrawn extradition invoice.

A whole bunch of protesters swarmed into the legislature that evening, defacing photos and smashing furnishings. Some spray-painted slogans within the chamber and painted over the territory’s emblem on a wall earlier than vacating the positioning as riot police cleared surrounding streets with tear fuel after which moved inside.

The legislature finally spent about 36 million Hong Kong {dollars} ($6.1 million Cdn) on repairing the damages, the court docket heard earlier.

Six defendants, together with actor Gregory Wong and two reporters, Wong Ka-ho and Ma Kai-chung, pleaded not responsible in 2023 to rioting.

On Thursday, choose Li Chi-ho discovered 4 of the six defendants, together with Gregory Wong, responsible of rioting. Wong Ka-ho and Ma have been acquitted of the rioting cost however have been convicted for illegal entry into the legislature.

Li mentioned in his written judgment that there was a directive to ask all individuals to depart. “I am unable to see how the defence can distort the that means of the phrase and exclude journalists from ‘everybody,”‘ he mentioned.

People, some wearing hard hats, smash glass on a door.
Hong Kong demonstrators broke into Hong Kong’s legislative constructing in July 2019 amid protests over a controversial extradition measure. (Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Photos)

He added it was a “fallacious concept” for Wong Ka-ho to assume that reporters can keep there to doc the developments.

In the course of the trial, Gregory Wong mentioned he was on the scene to ship chargers to a reporter. However the choose challenged his arguments, saying he had hugged a protester earlier than leaving the chamber as an expression of assist.

“His intention of getting into the legislature is clear, it’s to hitch this riot,” he mentioned.

Earlier, the court docket heard that defendant Lam Kam-kwan, who was convicted of rioting and a separate cost of legal harm Thursday, had been detained in mainland China in August 2019 and had been compelled to put in writing a repentance letter. Lam mentioned some Hong Kong law enforcement officials later met him and advised him that if he wouldn’t admit his wrongdoing, he then couldn’t return to the town. The officers denied that they had threatened Lam.

Li mentioned in his judgment the accusations towards the police “have been all lies.”

A woman with grey hair stands behind a steel barricade, holding a flag and raising her left arm. She is surrounded by police officers.
A professional-democracy protester referred to as Granny Wong shouts slogans exterior the court docket in Hong Kong on Thursday. (Peter Parks/AFP through Getty Photos)

Eight others, together with activists Ventus Lau, Owen Chow and former scholar chief Althea Suen, have been additionally charged for rioting in the identical case and beforehand entered a responsible plea.

All 14 defendants can have an opportunity to mitigate and ask for a extra lenient sentence, which shall be handed down in March.

Hundreds arrested

The 2019 protests have been sparked by a proposed extradition regulation that will have allowed Hong Kong legal suspects to be despatched to the mainland for trial. The federal government withdrew the invoice, however the protesters widened their calls for to incorporate direct elections for the town’s leaders and police accountability.

The social motion was the most important problem towards the Hong Kong authorities for the reason that metropolis’s handover in 1997 and triggered Beijing to impose a nationwide safety regulation in 2020 to quell it. Following the introduction of the safety regulation, most of the metropolis’s main activists have been arrested, silenced or compelled into self-exile.

Greater than 10,200 individuals have been arrested in connection to the protests for varied crimes, akin to rioting and collaborating in an unauthorized meeting. 

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.