A 17-year-old secondary student was jailed for three years and four months for rioting inside a Sha Tin shopping mall, during which two police officers were surrounded and attacked with umbrellas.
Two others - a 51-year-old security guard and a 24-year-old waiter -were sentenced to four years over the same incident at New Town Plaza last July 14, during which the trio wounded police officers Cheung Lik-hang and Kwok Siu-hang with intent.
Secondary three student Lee Man-him, security guard Kung Chi-yuen and waiter Leung Pak-tim were sentenced at District Court yesterday after they pleaded guilty to five counts of rioting earlier this month, including one count in which the three were jointly charged with.
District court judge Amanda Woodcock said the attack was barbaric, brutal and out of control.
As seen in security footage, she said Leung poked a police officer with an umbrella, using it like a spear, which did not match with his claim during mitigation that he did not attack with intent.
Lee also exerted a great deal of violence, continuously poking the officer with an umbrella, she added.
Woodcock said Cheung suffered severe injuries that left him unable to return to work on the frontline.
She added that the extent of Kwok's injuries is only less severe due to the help of a reporter and other passersby.
To deter others from rioting, imprisonment is unavoidable, she said.
Woodcock described the incident as a direct attack on law and order, adding that the trio had intended to injure and overpower police officers who were carrying out their duties.
She said while freedom of peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the Basic Law, protesters cross the line when they use or threaten to use violence.
"There is such a line to protect public order because society is prone to descend into anarchy if public order is not preserved," Woodcock said.
The court heard that Cheung, who wore a helmet, stormed into the shopping mall alongside other officers at around 10pm that day.
He was surrounded by around 20 protesters, including Lee and Leung, who kicked, punched and hit him with umbrellas for a minute. Kung also hurled an umbrella at the officer.
A minute later, Kwok was shoved by protesters down an escalator while attempting to head to the mall's fourth floor.
He was then kicked by Leung and poked by Kung with an umbrella at least five times, but a reporter prevented him from inflicting further injuries.
The prosecution also said that the attack had left Cheung with a fractured orbit, a broken nose and blurry vision, and he still is not able to return to the frontline.
In mitigation, the defense said that the case is a tragedy for the three defendants as well.
He said that Lee, who was 16 at the time of the incident, was affected by the atmosphere at the shopping mall and he did not endorse the use of violence.