Throngs back Leung in jail appeal

Top News | Sophie Hui 10 Oct 2019

More than 400 people swarmed the High Court yesterday to support localist Edward Leung Tin-kei's appeal against his sentence for rioting.

Leung, 28, is serving a six-year sentence for rioting on Argyle Street during the Lunar New Year riots in Mong Kok in 2016. He was also convicted of assaulting police.

His lawyer, senior counsel Lawrence Lok Ying-kam, argued that the trial judge, Anthea Pang Po-kam, had wrongly determined that Leung's action that night was premeditated.

Before the prison vehicle carrying Leung reached the court, hundreds of people gathered on the pavement at Queensway shouting "Free Hong Kong, revolution of our times" - a slogan which came from Leung and has been used in recent protests.

Large banners with the slogan were placed on the bridge.

Leung, in a dark blue suit, smiled to his supporters in the courtroom.

Two other defendants, Lo Kin-man, 32, and Wong Ka-kui, 28, are also appealing against their sentences. Lo is also appealing against his conviction.

Lo was jailed for seven years for rioting on Portland Street, while Wong got three-and-a-half years for rioting.

Video clips of the incident on the night of February 8 to early morning of February 9 three years ago were played at yesterday's hearing.

They show how a clearance operation of unlicensed hawkers in Mong Kok by Food and Environmental Hygiene Department officers grew into clashes between protesters and police.

Before acting Chief Justice Jeremy Poon Shiu-chor, Justice Carlye Chu Fun-ling and Justice Derek Pang Wai-cheong, Lok argued the riot was not premeditated and people rushed onto roads all of a sudden.

He urged the judges to consider Leung's behavior, saying the severity of shouting slogans cannot be compared to burning vehicles.

He said Leung wore a mask, goggles and helmet to avoid being recognized, and they were not offensive weapons. Putting on masks and goggles was not premeditated action.

Lok argued that Pang had mistakenly taken irrelevant factors into consideration, including the rioting on Portland Street. But Leung had been cleared of rioting on that street.

The director of public prosecutions, David Leung Cheuk-yin, said the sentences of the three defendants were not too heavy.

He said the court must consider the whole of the riot, not just the behavior of a defendant. The court had to consider the number taking part, its scale and level of violence.

Although Leung was arrested in the early part of the incident, he was not irrelevant to incidents that took place after his arrest as the rioting lasted for hours because of the large number of people taking part, Leung said.

He said the shields that protesters were holding that night were wrapped in plastic - indicating that they were not made at the scene - so the incident was premeditated.

He said the number of people gathered on Argyle outnumbered police, and their continued attacks caused an officer to fire a shot into the air. A written judgment will be handed down at a later date.

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