A 27-year-old barista has been remanded in jail ahead of sentencing after she was convicted of taking part in a riot during the siege of a Hong Kong police station during 2019’s anti-government protests.
Siu Lok-ting was also found guilty at the District Court of two counts of arson after she was seen in news footage burning a plant and pieces of cardboard outside Mong Kok Police Station on the night of September 22, 2019.
District Judge Frankie Yiu Fun-che adjourned sentencing to April 14, pending a background report on the defendant. He added: “The offences committed were serious. We are talking about immediate imprisonment. The defendant is remanded in custody.”
Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.
Siu is the sixth person to be convicted of rioting in a case related to the anti-government protests, sparked by a now-withdrawn extradition bill in the summer of 2019. She is also the second woman to be found guilty of the public order offence.
The court heard that she was among more than 100 protesters who gathered at the junction of Nathan Road and Edward Road West on the night in question to lay siege to the station. Some protesters were said to have shone laser beams at police officers, hurled hard objects and defaced the building, before starting a fire outside.
At issue in the case was whether Siu was indeed the woman with a blond ponytail who was caught on camera throwing objects into the fire.
On Thursday, Yiu upheld investigators’ finding that she was, saying the perpetrator was identifiable by her glasses, physique, white sneakers and the tattoo on her neck – all of which pointed to the defendant.
“Frankly, the features listed above may have pointed to other people with similar attire if they are considered separately, but if taken together, they become very cogent evidence the person is the accused,” Yiu said.
The judge cleared Siu of a fourth count of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, as he found insufficient evidence to suggest the accused had intended to use a laser pointer she had with her to injure others.
Separately, two men were detained on Thursday after they were convicted at the same court of taking part in an unlawful assembly during a protest at the Hong Kong airport on the night of August 13, 2019.
The pair – cook Ko Wing-hong and janitor Mak Hang-hung, aged 25 and 24, respectively – stood accused of blocking police vans outside the airport when officers were escorting an ambulance carrying a tourist from mainland China away from the scene.
The tourist, surnamed Xu, felt unwell after he was surrounded by protesters who suspected him of being a mainland police officer.
Media footage shows Ko putting baggage carts and other items in front of the police vans and hitting the vehicles with his palm, while Mak hurled a bottle-shaped object at a police bus.
District Judge Anthony Kwok Kai-on on Thursday dismissed the defence’s contention that the men in the footage were not the defendants, before finding the pair guilty of disrupting public order.
The two, alongside two co-defendants who pleaded guilty to rioting over the same incident, will be sentenced next Wednesday.