Arsonist bid to appeal turned down

Local | Phoebe Ng 7 Dec 2017

A former auxiliary cop and student activist's attempt to appeal his arson conviction was deemed unrealistic and out of the question by the Court of Appeal yesterday.

Joe Yeung Yat-long, 23, is serving a two-year jail term for setting a rubbish bin on fire outside the Legislative Council's headquarters on December 6, 2015.

Yeung, the then student union president of Shue Yan University, was charged with conspiracy to commit arson, but in an attempt to clear his name he argued that a witness, Lam Kwok-lun, wrongly identified him as the suspect.

Yeung called Lam to get him to buy him isopropyl alcohol and a newspaper before the blaze, the court heard.

Justice Wally Yeung Chun-kuen, vice president of the Court of Appeal, said it was impossible for Lam to confuse Yeung as someone else.

"The possibility that Lam has made a mistake is out of the question," Justice Yeung said. "They had known each other for a year when the crime was committed, and had met up once or twice a week."

In response, Yeung's counsel, Douglas Kwok King-hin, said there was reasonable doubt to justify an appeal. As Kwok tried to make comments, the judge interrupted, saying: "I have said that for the sixth time already, you need not say it any further."

As Joe Yeung's claim was "unrealistic" and "unconvincing," the judge refused to grant him leave to lodge his appeal.

As for the applicant's sentence of two years in prison, the judge said no matter what role Yeung played, he had to be part of the plot to commit arson.

"The punishment was not manifestly heavy," he said.

Before being escorted back to prison, Yeung, a former auxiliary policeman who quit the force to join the Occupy movement in 2014, told the gallery: "I wish you an early Happy New Year in front of God."

Yeung's accomplice, Ip Check-yin, 20, was sentenced to a detention center after pleading guilty to the same charge.

The pair carried out the attack following a protest against the copyright amendment Bill as they felt it would affect freedom of speech in Hong Kong.

Surveillance footage showed two men, faces covered, approaching the bin. One man in blue, believed to be Yeung, lit a device and threw it into the bin. The lid blew off later.

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