Hong Kong protests: elderly man gets suspended jail sentence for punching woman in the head

Brian Wong
·2-min read

An 85-year-old man has been given a suspended jail sentence for punching a woman in the head after becoming enraged at the posting of protest slogans during Hong Kong’s 2019 social unrest.

Kwun Tong Court jailed Ngan Hok-hoi for 14 days on Tuesday but suspended the term for two years on account of his advanced age and previously clean criminal record.

The retiree attacked the woman, surnamed Leung, at a so-called Lennon Wall mounted outside a construction site near Kowloon Bay MTR station on the night of December 2, 2019.

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The assault was launched six months into the anti-government protests sparked by the since-shelved extradition bill.

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The wall was one of many similar displays that sprang up across the city, bearing messages in support of the protest movement and occasionally becoming flashpoints for violence.

Ngan was said to have torn away posters affixed to the Kowloon Bay wall at 7.20pm.

Witnessing that act, Leung recorded videos of the incident after Ngan refused to stop, but was punched in the head twice by the defendant. The woman suffered swelling and redness on the face.

The defendant initially denied one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, punishable by three years in jail, claiming he had been framed.

The Kwun Tong Law Courts Building. Photo: Nora Tam
The Kwun Tong Law Courts Building. Photo: Nora Tam

He pleaded guilty on Tuesday after prosecutors agreed to reduce the charge to one of common assault, which carries a maximum sentence of one year behind bars.

Ngan’s lawyer said the defendant had committed the crime out of impulse, stressing he had been a peaceful and law-abiding resident throughout his life until the present case.

“[The defendant] can be said as a rather cultured old man,” the lawyer said, urging the court to dispose of the case with a fine.

But Magistrate Andrew Mok Tze-chung said Ngan had committed a “serious” offence by attacking someone to the head, one that warranted imprisonment.

However, he accepted the offence was out of character and ordered Ngan’s jail term to be suspended.

“Whatever the reason, violence is not the way to resolve a problem,” Mok said.

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