A Hong Kong decoration worker has been jailed for 40 months for an “extremely vicious” attack on a man who attempted to clear a roadblock erected by anti-government protesters in 2019.
The District Court heard Leung Kai-lok, 34, hit his victim, known as X in court, with an iron bar when the latter was removing bamboo sticks and banners from a section of Nathan Road in Mong Kok in the early hours of December 1.
The victim suffered a 4cm laceration to the scalp and scratches on his left arm when he fell down after the attack.
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Leung claimed he had decided to go after the man under the mistaken belief X intended to attack protesters with the items used to build the barricade.
That explanation was rejected by Judge Ernest Michael Lin Kam-hung, who concluded after seeing a video clip of the incident that the accused assaulted the man in a bid to stop him from clearing the blockade, as well as threatening him and other ordinary citizens who opposed the demonstration.
Leung pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of wounding with intent, in exchange for the prosecution dropping two charges of rioting and using facial covering at an unlawful assembly.
Video footage of the incident showed some 10 people shouting abuse at X near the junction of Nathan Road and Mong Kok Road. The man responded by taking out his smartphone in an apparent attempt to film the people around him. However, Leung hit his victim in the head before he could start recording.
Upon his arrest, Leung told police he had initially gone to Mong Kok to meet friends, but later decided to watch the protest there after dinner. He claimed he attacked X after seeing him carry a sharp object resembling a knife.
Leung gave a similar account when he was prompted by the judge to affirm his explanation under oath in the witness box.
When asked by Lin why he believed the man was carrying a weapon when the video evidence showed him holding a bamboo stick, Leung said he could not explain that.
“The defendant’s statement ran completely contrary to the footage. I do not accept the defendant’s explanation,” Lin said in his sentencing remarks.
The judge also applauded X’s “unselfish” act, and said the offence was “extremely vicious”, as Leung had aimed for his victim’s head.
He set a starting point of sentence at five years in prison and reduced one-third of the term to reflect Leung’s guilty plea.
The judge further ordered the defendant to pay the victim HK$20,000 in damages in two weeks, failing which he would spend a longer time behind bars.
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