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An unemployed Hong Kong man has been jailed for nine years for stabbing pro-establishment lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu in the chest at an election campaign event amid the social unrest of 2019.
Madam Justice Esther Toh Lye-ping on Monday said the vicious November 6 attack carried out by 31-year-old Tung Pak-fai at a campaign booth in Tuen Mun could not be excused or condoned as it involved premeditation, meticulous planning and a very sharp blade.
“This was a senseless and most horrific attack on a citizen going about his legitimate business on the streets of Hong Kong,” the judge said. “This calls for a major deterrent sentence, because this is not something a civil society should endure.”
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Toh also observed that the “very serious” attack was “abhorrent to most members of society when it happened” and emphasised three times that it was fortunate that Ho did not suffer more serious injuries – apart from a 2cm cut that required stitches – or psychological trauma.
“The attack on his chest could easily have been fatal,” she continued.
A victim’s impact assessment revealed that Ho, whose firebrand style of pro-Beijing politics had made him a focal point of the 2019 protest movement’s ire, experienced fear and worry in the months that followed and became hyper vigilant when out in public.
But his overall psychological impact was described as limited, with the clinical psychologist observing that his psychological resilience and optimism had helped him to overcome the challenge and return to normal.
Tung pleaded guilty last month to one count of wounding with intent, punishable by life in prison, and another count of wounding for injuring Ho’s bodyguard while he was being subdued. He had no prior convictions.
The High Court previously heard that Tung had pretended to be an avid Ho supporter, presenting the politician with flowers as he distributed leaflets ahead of the November 24 district council elections two years ago.
But on the pretext of getting a camera, Tung pulled a serrated knife with a 20cm blade from his shoulder bag and stabbed Ho in the chest, shouting “Ho Kwan-yiu, go to hell fast”.
Ho’s bodyguard, Cheung Ying-choi, then tried to disarm the assailant, but was also slashed in the chest and left forearm.
I have to kill Ho Kwan-yiu. Is Ho Kwan-yiu dead yet? He needs to die faster
Tung Pak-fai in video footage played for the court
Footage played in court showed Tung – with a bleeding left arm – being tackled to the ground and held in place by a number of people, including Ho, as they waited for police and paramedics.
He was recorded asking Ho if he had seen the footage of a white-clad mob launching a violent attack on protesters and commuters in Yuen Long MTR station on July 21, 2019, adding “the whole world knows about you shaking hands with the white-shirted men”.
Tung then accused Ho of being responsible and said there was a need to “protect” Hong Kong residents from the lawmaker.
“I have to kill Ho Kwan-yiu,” he continued. “Is Ho Kwan-yiu dead yet? He needs to die faster.”
A subsequent bag search revealed that Tung was carrying a second knife, measuring 28cm, plus one of Ho’s promotional leaflets.
A police investigation revealed Tung had planned the attack in advance – visiting the scene multiple times in the days leading up to the stabbing, taking photographs and making enquiries about Ho’s whereabouts.
This article Hong Kong man sentenced to 9 years’ jail for 2019 stabbing of pro-establishment lawmaker Junius Ho first appeared on South China Morning Post