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An unemployed man who bit off a former politican’s ear and gashed another person in the stomach during Hong Kong protests in 2019 has been sentenced to imprisonment for 14.5 years by the city’s high court on Tuesday.
Jon Chen, 52, had also assaulted two others during the unrest in the country. He was also accused of pulling the then district councillor Andrew Chiu Ka-yin’s other ear towards his mouth when a brawl broke out outside Hong Kong’s Cityplaza mall in Quarry Bay on 3 November and he rushed to intervene.
Chen was facing charges on three counts of wounding with intent and one of common assault in the top court even as his lawyers defended the accusations during the trial. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The defence told the court multiple reasons behind Chen’s act, ranging from provocation to self-defence and to insanity, and stated that the accused had no intention to inflict grievous harm on the victims but could not convince the jury, reported the South China Morning Post.
He was convicted by a jury of three men and four women of all the charges in December last year.
Court’s Madam Justice Judianna Barnes had noted that the attacks by Chen left serious injuries — both physically and mentally — on all four victims, which included the district councillor, civilian Louis Wan Ho-lun, his wife Leung Pik-kei and her cousin Leung Ying-ying.
She also accepted the submission from the defence that the accused man had gone on a rampage under the influence of alcohol, the report added.
On the day of the attack, Chen was seen in a grey T-shirt and was heard shouting “Restore Taiwan” in Mandarin and Cantonese before he attacked them with a fruit knife.
The attacks took place shortly after 7pm when Mr Wan was on his way to have dinner with his wife and a relative.
On hearing Chen shout, Mr Wan asked him: “What are you talking about?”
But he saw the man move towards him and felt “something wet” after being slashed by the fruit knife on his stomach as he warned his family to stay behind him.
“I pulled up my shirt to find blood on my stomach. It happened very quickly,” Mr Wan told the jury.
The local district council member Mr Chiu rushed to help the group on hearing about the altercation but the accused man held his head “like a bowling ball” and bit off his left ear.
“I just wanted to help,” Mr Chiu told the court during the trial. “Why was I attacked? How did our society become like this?”
He added: “I tried my best to push him away. But he was bigger so I couldn’t – and he bit down with a ‘pluck’ sound … I will remember that sound for the rest of my life”.
According to the prosecutor Steven Kwan Man-wai, the accused intentionally carried out the attacks, knowing what he did was wrong.