A Hong Kong student has been sent to a detention centre for carrying flammable liquid at a protest in January against the government’s plan to convert a newly-built housing estate into a coronavirus quarantine facility.
Ho Chi-lok, a 22-year-old student, has been spared jail on Friday after Fanling Court accepted his apology for the offence on January 26, the second day of the Lunar New Year, when protesters blocked roads and launched petrol bombs at Fai Ming Estate.
A day before the confrontation, the government announced the vacant public housing estate would be used as temporary shelter for close contacts of Covid-19 patients and health care staff.
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The decision sparked a violent response from local residents, who feared the proposed quarantine site would expose them to the deadly coronavirus, which had infected 2,372 people and killed 16 in Hong Kong as of Friday.
Police have so far arrested nine men and two women, aged 16 to 42, but are still looking for the culprits who tossed the firebombs.
The government has since scrapped the plan, saying restoration of the housing estate would take up to eight months.
In Fanling Court, prosecutors alleged that a bottle of petrol, a lighter and protest paraphernalia were found on Ho when he was intercepted 900m away from the housing estate at 9pm that day, one hour after a residential block was set ablaze.
Ho pleaded guilty to possessing things with intent to destroy property before Principal Magistrate Don So Man-lung earlier this month.
On Friday, So accepted the recommendations made by the Correctional Services Department and ordered Ho to serve his sentence at Sha Tsui Correctional Institution, where he will be required to perform intensive labour for up to a year. The exact period of detention will be determined by the department.
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