Protester forced to defer studies for hurling bricks

Local | Carine Chow 11 Jun 2021

An 18-year-old student will have to defer the second year of his post-secondary education, as he was sentenced yesterday to a detention center for throwing bricks at a water cannon vehicle a year ago.

Chan Yip-wan had been sentenced to 18 months’ probation after pleading guilty to criminal damage and possession of materials with intent to damage properties, but the Department of Justice applied for a sentence review. He received a heavier sentence in the high court yesterday.

His case first appeared in the Eastern court last year, when magistrate Bina Chainrai put him on probation for 18 months.

But the Department of Justice applied for a review this February, arguing that a probation order was too lenient and lacked a deterrent effect. It sought correctional training for Chan, saying that was to strike a balance among punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation.

The request was dismissed by Chainrai after considering the fact that Chan had served two weeks in remand over the case and the time that had passed since the initial sentence.

The prosecution applied for a sentence review on May 26 that was accepted by the court of appeal.

Chief judge Jeremy Poon Shiu-chor and judges Derek Pang Wai-cheong and Judianna Barnes Wai-ling heard the appeal yesterday.

Chan’s lawyer said he hoped the judges would send the student to a rehabilitation center instead of a detention center, given that Chan was about to begin his second year of study at the Hong Kong University School of Professional and Continuing Education in September.

However, the judges denied the defense’s proposition after considering the severity of the case. Poon said Chan could choose to defer his studies for a semester, as this was allowed by higher education institutions.

The three judges also said the length of detention period would be based on Chan’s performance at the labor-intensive detention center, which could range from one to six months. Barnes added that Chan might therefore have the motivation to perform better at the detention center and be released before the start of the new school year.

Chan, who is a commerce student at HKU SPACE, was arrested after he threw bricks at a water cannon truck three meters away as the vehicle reached Percival Street in Causeway Bay on January 1 last year.

The brick left an eight-centimeter scratch on the police vehicle, which cost the force HK$9,900 to repair. The repair cost was later borne by Chan. Chan was also found to have a plastic bottle containing inflammable liquids, a knife, a cutter, a lighter and a hammer.

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