Flag burning activist jailed

Local | 8 Mar 2016 5:28 pm

Veteran social activist Koo Sze-yiu was jailed for six weeks today for burning a flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

He was charged with one count of desecrating the regional flag after burning it near the Hong Kong Convention Centre in Wan Chai on July 1 last year.

The offense took place just before a flag raising ceremony was to be held at the Golden Bauhinia Square nearby to mark the handover anniversary.

In sentencing, Eastern Magistrate Lee Siu-ho noted that Koo wanted to express his strong opinions but he said everyone should abide by the law while enjoying their right of expression. He also pointed out that he had committed the same offense before.

In mitigation, Koo said he was happy to be punished as being jailed would be part of the life of an activist, and he would continue to protest against the Beijing and Hong Kong governments and fight for democracy.

Before the conviction, Koo had argued that the prosecution's video footage did not show that he was burning the flag. The magistrate agreed with him on this point, but said witness accounts from police officers and photographs were enough to prove that Koo committed the offense beyond reasonable doubt.—RTHK

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