Localist Edward Leung jailed for six years for Mong Kok riotLocal | 11 Jun 2018 10:58 am
Prominent localist Edward Leung Tin-kei has been sentenced to six years in prison for rioting during the Lunar New Year disturbances in Mong Kok in 2016. He was also given a 12-month term for assaulting an officer, and will serve the sentence concurrently, RTHK reports.
Two other defendants in the case, Lo Kin-man and Wong Ka-kui, were given jail terms of seven years, and three years and six months respectively for rioting.
A nine-member jury unanimously found the trio guilty on May 18.
In sentencing, High Court judge Anthea Pang said political pleas can never justify the use of violence, and the court will only take into account the extent of violence that had been used, and the extent of public peace that had been broken. Public interest, judge Pang added, must be protected by the court.
During the trial, Leung told the court that he was only in Mong Kok on the night of the unrest to protect hawkers who were being moved on by officials, as well as to defend the city's culture.
But the former Hong Kong Indigenous spokesman also admitted that he could not contain his anger as violence erupted between police and protesters.
Leung was a by-election candidate at the time and said he had called an election rally in Mong Kok so his supporters could form a buffer between the police and the crowd of protesters, a claim dismissed by the prosecution as "smoke and mirrors".
Leung and two other defendants, Lee Nok-man and Lam Ngo-hin, meanwhile, will be retried for a separate charge of inciting others to riot, for which the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The pretrial hearing for that case has been arranged for July 13.
The clashes during the Lunar New Year holiday of 2016 erupted after a dispute over the clearance of food vendors. In pitched street battles, mobs attacked police officers with bricks and sticks.