Engineer cleared in unrest case

Local | Mandy Zheng 4 Aug 2020

An engineer has been acquitted of possessing tools with intent to damage property after police found him carrying spraypaint cans and stained gloves during a protest on November 2 in Wan Chai.

Eastern court magistrate Ho Chun-yiu found Chan Man-ho, 34, not guilty, saying there was no evidence of him taking part in the protest, blocking streets or of anyone vandalizing property during the protest.

Ho agreed with Chan's lawyer, who said the tools could be used in other ways, such as producing protest banners.

"It is definitely not the only reasonable inference that the defendant intended to damage property by using the tools he carried," Ho added.

Chan was arrested near police headquarters after an anti-fugitive bill protest in Victoria Park saw clashes with police.

Policeman Siu Leung-chi, who caught Chan around 5pm, said he saw Chan, dressed in a blue vest, walking "with an evasive look."

Siu and others stopped Chan and checked his backpack, in which was found spray cans with yellow and black paint, two pairs of gloves, and stencils for the word "resist" and an umbrella pattern.

Three videos were played in court, one of which showed Chan being asked to hand over his phone and crouch before being handcuffed. Others showed protesters setting up barriers on Hennessy Road on the same day as police fired tear gas.

Separately, a clerk is facing trial over allegations he sprayed police with a garden hose outside Sheung Tak bus terminus in Tseung Kwan O in the early hours of November 4.

The incident occurred on the day that University of Science and Technology student Chow Tsz-lok, 22, fell from a car park in Tseung Kwan O, causing him to die four days later.

Ng Yat-kan, 30, pleaded not guilty to one count of assaulting a police officer. Kwun Tong magistrate Minnie Wat Lai-man found Ng has a case to answer.

A sergeant said he was hit by water as a result of Ng's act during a confrontation between police and protesters, with a cordon line separating them.

Ng allegedly grabbed a hose from a planter nearby and shot water across the line, shouting "go to die, dirty cop," the sergeant added.

He said he pepper sprayed Ng in response, after which the clerk tried to escape. Ng was then subdued and arrested.

But Ng argued that he did not mean to hurt the sergeant and even tilted the hose upward to avoid hitting him.

The case continues next Thursday.

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