Airport rioters jailed for 45 months
Two men were jailed yesterday for 45 months each for rioting at Hong Kong International Airport 1 ago, with two others given shorter jail terms for unlawful assembly.
The four committed the offenses on August 13, 2019, the same day a Global Times staffer, Fu Guohao, was tied up and assaulted at the airport by other protesters.
They were sentenced yesterday by district court judge Anthony Kwok Kai-on, who said rioting at the airport was more serious than doing so on the street because it hindered airport operations and damaged its reputation.
Community officer Yau Man-king, 32, and MTR technician Yip Man-leong, 25, pleaded guilty to taking part in a riot at terminal one of the airport. They were each sentenced to 45 months in prison.
Chef Ko Wing-hong, 25, and cleaner Mak Hang-hung, 24, pleaded not guilty to unlawful assembly on Cheong Hong Road outside the airport's departure hall. They were each sentenced to 13 months' imprisonment.
On the rioting charge, Kwok said an injured police officer accidentally pushed a woman down during protests. When he tried to lift her up, he was beaten by about 10 people, including Yau and Yip.
The officer then drew his service revolver to stop further attacks. Kwok said the officer could have been badly battered if he had been without the gun.
He added the court would not empathize with those who assault police officers.
When it came to Ko and Mak, Kwok said their actions were insulting and provocative. They hit a police car and blocked it from leaving, which incited others to breach the peace.
In mitigation, Yau said his initial intention was just to take part in a peaceful protest. However, when he saw a police officer chasing after a woman, he thought the police would be violent with her.
Yau said he attacked the officer on impulse and the assault did not take long. The police officer did not suffer serious injuries.
In another rioting case heard at the district court yesterday, 21-year-old student Choi Tsz-chung, who pleaded guilty to rioting at a Tsuen Wan protest on August 25 in 2019, was sentenced to four years in jail.
District Court Judge David Dufton said although Choi had only used a laser pen at that time, his behavior backed others' violent behavior at the scene. A sentence with deterrence should be given, he said.