A delivery driver in Hong Kong has admitted in court to plotting to injure police officers with two scalpels after seeing video footage he said showed police badly beating anti-government protesters in a railway station during last year’s months of civil unrest.
The District Court heard that Frankie Leung Yat-chi, 38, was arrested after a car chase on Hong Kong Island on the evening of September 4, during which he pulled out a toy pistol and shot plastic pellets towards a police vehicle that was giving chase.
The delivery driver was said to have stopped his van in North Point and briefly confronted officers with the pistol, before dropping the fake firearm and surrendering. Police later found the surgical knives in his pockets.
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The man, who is autistic, told police that he had planned to stab random officers with the two knives, accusing the force of abusing its power when police stormed into Prince Edward MTR station to arrest protesters on the night of August 31.
“Those policemen beat the protesters in such a manner,” he said under caution. “I want to take revenge.”
He added, however, that he had not actually intended to execute the plan.
A subsequent search of Leung’s smartphone found that he had disseminated messages about murdering both officers and supporters of the now-withdrawn extradition bill via WhatsApp and Facebook. The toy gun, upon examination, was found to be an air pistol used in war games.
After serving 11 months in remand, Leung pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count each of possessing imitation firearms, possessing offensive weapons in a public place, and dangerous driving.
Prosecutors said Leung had five previous convictions over the past 10 years, including possession of offensive weapons, indecent assault and common assault.
While possessing imitation firearms is punishable by two years in prison, the maximum jail term may be raised to seven years if the person found guilty of the charge has been convicted of certain violent offences in the past decade.
Defence lawyer Chris Ng Chung-luen urged District Judge Amanda Woodcock to disregard Leung’s past brushes with the law, saying he did not intend to commit further offences with the air pistol.
But Woodcock said she could not overlook the fact that Leung had a record of using violence. She has adjourned sentencing the defendant to September 1.
Possessing offensive weapons in a public place and dangerous driving each bear a maximum jail term of three years.