Party chiefs escape jailfor inciting 2016 rally

Local | Amy Nip 12 Sep 2019

League of Social Democrats chairman Avery Ng Man-yuen and Demosisto chairman Ivan Lam Long-yin have received two week suspended prison sentences for inciting protests outside the central government liaison office in 2016.

Former Lingnan University student union president Cheng Pui-lun, 24, also received the same sentence after being convicted of illegal assembly.

Ng, 42, was found guilty of two charges of inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly.

Lam, 24, pleaded guilty to incitement and unlawful assembly charges.

Five others received community service sentences for public-order offenses, including obstructing police officers, illegal assembly and inciting others to take part.

They included Chan Man-wai, 25, Dickson Chau Ka-faat, 27, Ip Chi-hin, 29, and Lo Tak-cheong, 24, who were all convicted, while Derek Lam Shun-hin, 25, pleaded guilty.

Ng said he will appeal against his conviction, but will discuss with his legal team whether to appeal against his sentence.

"I am planning to appeal," he said.

"My grounds are pretty simple. We were lawfully protesting against the disqualification of lawmakers and the reinterpretation of the Basic Law. It was solely due to unreasonable and unlawful coordination of individual policemen that caused the chaos."

Magistrate Peony Wong Nga-yan said Ng's incitement caused a slight impact to the public.

He was not inciting a significant number of people, and there was no loss of property or lives, she added.

While there was minor scuffle, it was not something that Ng could have foreseen, Wong also said.

As for Cheng and Lam, who illegally assembled, Wong said in normal situations it would be inappropriate to sentence them to a fine or community service. The latter had a similar criminal record too, she said.

But, considering their young age, she handed down suspended sentences.

The court earlier heard that around 4,000 people deviated from an approved march route and descended on the liaison office on November 6, 2016, to protest against Beijing's interpretation of the Basic Law on the oath-taking process for lawmakers.

Ng was said to have encouraged protesters twice to climb over barricades outside the office and challenge the police cordon.

The defense said the court convicted Ng based on how he climbed over a metal barricade and asked others to follow suit.

It also urged the court not to confuse this case with the recent unrest.

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