Hong Kong protester cleared of Christmas Day assault after magistrate decides policeman ‘did not tell truth’

Brian Wong
·3-min read

A man accused of pushing a Hong Kong policeman during an anti-government protest on Christmas Day has been cleared of the charge, after video footage showed the officer bumping him.

Magistrate Jocelyn Leung Siu-ling acquitted Ian Wong Ho-fung of one count of assaulting police during a protest in Kowloon Bay on December 25, after finding the officer “did not tell the truth in court”.

The 24-year-old mechanic appeared in Kwun Tong Court accused of pushing Station Sergeant Andrew Cheung, as the officer was about to leave Telford Plaza at 9pm after patrolling the shopping centre.

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At the trial last Friday, Cheung testified that Wong had deliberately pushed him with his body, but two news clips played in court showed the officer stepping on the defendant and hitting him with his left shoulder, while there was no noticeable reaction from Wong.

Ian Wong was cleared of assault at Kwun Tong Court. Photo: Nora Tam
Ian Wong was cleared of assault at Kwun Tong Court. Photo: Nora Tam

When asked to respond to the footage, Cheung was adamant he made no physical contact with Wong until the latter went for him.

In Wednesday’s verdict, Leung dismissed the sergeant’s testimony, and said his claims were not supported by the evidence.

“What [the sergeant] said is not true,” Leung said. “[The sergeant] did not tell the truth in court. The court will disregard his evidence.”

Leung said she could only base her ruling on the two videos, taken by reporters at Stand News and RTHK respectively, but saw no evidence to support the prosecution’s accusation Wong had intentionally attacked Cheung.

Security chief rejects accusation Hong Kong police have lied in protest cases

Instead, the magistrate found it possible the defendant tried to push the officer away after the latter stepped on his foot.

“The defendant may have used his hand to push away [the sergeant], but it was [the sergeant] who first stepped on the defendant and hit the latter’s right shoulder with his left shoulder,” Leung said.

“Even if there was a collision, the prosecution cannot exclude the possibility that it was an accidental contact.”

Leung further granted the defence counsel’s application for costs of the proceedings.

Separately, a 17-year-old student who was placed on probation for possessing weapons at another protest last year saw his sentence upgraded to one of community service on Wednesday, after the sentencing magistrate admitted his original ruling was inadequate.

Acting Principal Magistrate Jason Wan Siu-ming, of Sha Tin Court, accepted prosecutors’ request to review his sentence on July 24, when he put Lui Ho-kiu on one-year probation for carrying two hammers, an iron rod, and a sharpened hiking stick to a November 12 demonstration in Ma On Shan, and ordered the student to serve 140 hours of unpaid community work instead.

Wan said he made the decision after balancing personal rehabilitation and the need for punishment and deterrence.

The High Court previously granted prosecutors’ applications to toughen up the sentences of at least four protesters, stressing that lower courts should not place too much emphasis on a defendant’s youth and personal circumstances in sentencing.

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