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Saturday, Jun 03, 2023

10 in Poly siege go behind bars

10 in Poly siege go behind bars

Ten protesters in the 2019 Polytechnic University siege were yesterday sentenced to 45 to 58 months in prison by the district court.
Judge Anthony Kwok Kai-on described a riot in Yau Ma Tei on November 18 that year as "radical," when more than 2,000 protesters hurled at least 251 molotov cocktails at about 200 policemen while attempting to "rescue" those trapped in the Polytechnic University.

Calling it one of the largest riots in protests in 2019, Kwok said it occurred in the Yau Ma Tei section of Nathan Road between Waterloo Road and Hamilton Street, where there are lot of residential buildings and shops.

"Residents and security guards felt their lives threatened," Kwok said.

He said some people ran into buildings after smelling something was on fire, while security guards stuffed gaps around doors with wet towels to block tear gas.

"It was obvious how the riot threatened people's lives and safety," he said, adding that roads were paralyzed that night, with some minibuses recording zero income.

"This is the outcome caused by selfish rioters, who disrupted social order and caused losses for innocent businessmen," he said.

Although the court heard earlier that people were only at the scene to "show support" Kwok said he had to consider the riot as a whole and that the defendants should pay the price.

Kwok set the sentence starting point at five years and gave deductions according to a defendant's background.

Yu Ka-ching, 26, was the only defendant among 10 who pleaded guilty.

Kwok said Yu had expressed her remorse and praised her for not giving up on herself as she had become a registered nurse. He gave her the shortest prison term of 45 months.

The nine defendants pleading not guilty were Lui Hiu-tin, Mui Chun-ho, Ng Cheuk-wang, Ng Yuet-kiu, O Chun-ming, On Chun-yin, Poon Yi-ching, Tai Cheuk-yan, and Wong Chi-yung, who are 22 to 29 years old now.

Tai, who was 19 in 2019 was sentenced to 50 months.

Lui, Poon, and Wong were arrested without any protest gear, and Kwok jailed them for 54 months.

On was found to be carrying fireproof gloves in his belongings when he was arrested. Kwok believed On had an intention to use a molotov cocktail and sentenced him to 57 months in prison together with Mui, Ng and O.

The eldest defendant, Ng, was also convicted for possessing spray paint and was given the longest term behind bars of 58 months.

Speaking outside the court after sentencing, police public order event investigation team member senior inspector Poon Sung-lai said police arrested 213 people on November 18, 2019.

So far, 91 have been convicted, with 73 sentenced from 29 to 64 months in prison and three to a training center. The others have yet to be sentenced.
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