Five students sent to jail for roles in campus siege

Top News | Erin Chan 20 Oct 2021

Five Chinese University students have been jailed for nearly five years each after being convicted of rioting during the siege of the campus in November 2019.

Foo Hoi-ching, 23, was sentenced to four years and 11 months behind bars, while Chan Lik-sik, 20, Lau Chun-yuk and Hui Yi-chuen, both 22, as well as Ko Chi-pan, 23, were each jailed for four years and nine months.

The five were each convicted of one count of rioting and another count of using facial coverings during an unlawful assembly on November 11, 2019. Among them, Hui and Foo were also found guilty of one count of possession of offensive weapons or instruments fit for unlawful purposes.

All defendants pleaded not guilty to their charges at the District Court on June 21, but were convicted after a trial by jury.

In sentencing, deputy district judge Kathie Cheung Kit-yee said yesterday that the No 2 bridge on CUHK in Sha Tin was turned into "a battlefield."

She added: "The riot at the university, which lasted for an hour, saw dozens of protesters hurl a total of 23 petrol bombs. Despite police warnings, the protesters did not disperse and even threatened to use force."

Cheung said the five had hurled five petrol bombs in two minutes throughout the incident.

Despite no casualties being reported, the petrol bombs the defendants hurled could hurt people, Cheung said.

She added that the lack of evidence regarding the defendants' level of involvement was not a reason to lessen their jail terms.

Cheung said the sentence would affect the defendants' future prospects, but they must pay the price for their actions. She initially proposed a sentence of five years for each defendant, before reducing it by one to three months after taking their clean criminal records and age into account.

Cheung said Foo, who received the heaviest sentence, was arrested for the present case when she was on police bail in another protest-related case.

Foo was also found to be in possession of a screwdriver and the metal head of a hammer, while Hui was found to have a spanner.

In mitigation, the defense lawyers said all five had good backgrounds.

The case had affected the defendants, including Lau, who had suicidal thoughts and sought psychiatric treatment.

The defense counsel also said Chan had been diagnosed with depression and had to terminate his studies due to the case.

But Foo, a nursing student, remained defiant during mitigation, saying she was not remorseful over her actions and deemed the verdict unfair.

She maintained her rioting charge was a political tool used to quash dissent.

"The law under an authoritarian regime is nothing but a violent means to regulate people's behavior without shedding blood," Foo wrote in a letter to the judge.

"The court is not a place to deliver justice. This is just a place which superficially expresses concerns for public order without casting an eye on the root causes of the social divide."

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