Crunch time for Occupy cops

Top News | Stella Wong 25 Jul 2019

Verdicts are about to be handed down on appeals by seven former police officers imprisoned for assaulting Occupy protester Ken Tsang Kin-chiu in 2014.

Chief inspector Wong Cho-shing, 51, senior inspector Lau Cheuk-ngai, 32, detective sergeant Pak Wing-bun, 45, and constables Lau Hing-pui, 41, Wong Wai-ho, 40, Chan Siu-tan, 34, and Kwan Ka-ho, 35, were convicted in February 2017 of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and sentenced to two years in prison.

Chan was convicted of an additional charge of common assault.

They went to the Court of Appeal last November to fight convictions and sentences and were released on bail.

Court of Appeal vice president Andrew Macrae and two other judges of the Court of Appeal - Ian McWalters and Jeremy Poon Shiu-chor - will announce the verdicts tomorrow.

Defense lawyers had argued it was not safe for District Court Judge David Dufton to have identified officers based on their attire and how the attackers looked in a video. The prosecution responded it was appropriate for the trial judge to have identified officers by how they were dressed.

Prosecutor Jonathan Caplan QC said Tsang was punched and kicked by a group of people. That was seen in a video.

He said that in previous cases videos had been used in cases if there was evidence it was genuine. So it was reasonable for the trial judge to accept the footage as evidence.

The Court of Appeal has already noted the case involved members of disciplined services - a factor for higher penalties. And McWalters asked whether Wong Cho-shing as the highest-ranking officer who did not stop colleagues from committing a crime should bear a heavier penalty.

Tim Owen QC, representing Wong, replied that he did not participate in the attack. Owen added that the officer had served 142 days in prison and would lose a HK$5.6 million pension. He hoped the court would hand down a suspended sentence or allow Wong to go free immediately.

Defense lawyers of the other six officers want the court to consider that front-line police were under huge pressure during the Occupy movement in 2014.

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