A Hong Kong renovation worker has been jailed for four months for taking part in an unlawful assembly outside the legislature after a million-strong march against the extradition bill descended into chaos last year.
Ng Ho-wing, 33, was on Tuesday sentenced over his role at the protest, which involved some 200 people charging at a police cordon outside the public entrance of the closed Legislative Council complex just after midnight on June 10.
The unlawful assembly came after an estimated 1.03 million people marched peacefully from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Tim Mei Avenue in Admiralty, in protest against the extradition bill, which would have opened the door to sending suspects to mainland China.
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Eastern Court heard the group of 200 had initially gathered at the designated public activity area for protest, but turned disorderly when some members began dismantling the crowd control barriers and lifting an emergency crash gate.
Police then formed a cordon in front of the entrance and issued 10 warnings to stop protesters from charging at officers, but to no avail.
Ng was seen lifting the emergency crash gate and moving the barriers towards the cordon together with some unidentified individuals.
He pleaded guilty last month to one count of unlawful assembly, an offence punishable by three years’ imprisonment and a HK$5,000 (US$645) fine when sentenced by a magistrate.
Defence counsel David Iu pleaded for a lenient, if not suspended, sentence, noting in mitigation that his client had already been in remand for three weeks and that the violence involved in the case was minimal.
But Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai said the situation had to be assessed as a whole and that the defendant was personally involved in moving the barricades.
The court also heard that Ng, though cooperative, was found unsuitable for unpaid community service because he had a drinking problem.
The magistrate adopted a nine-month sentence as a starting point, before giving Ng a one-third discount for his guilty plea and a further reduction of two months to account for his mitigation and previously clear record.
“I’ve considered whether the sentence should be suspended, but there is no reason to,” she said.
Chainrai had earlier sentenced Ng’s co-defendant, social worker Yau Chi-lok, 33, to the same term of four months’ imprisonment.
Three other co-defendants, who have pleaded not guilty, will return to court on August 31.
They are computer technician Wan Chun-ho, 29, and Chinese University students Jason Chan Kwan-nin, 21, and Tai On, 22.
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