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Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

Three teens receive training center order over 2019 PolyU protest

Three teens receive training center order over 2019 PolyU protest

Three teenagers were on Wednesday sent to a training center over protests outside Polytechnic University four years ago, as the judge told them to learn the lesson of “think twice before taking action.”
The three were students Chen Ho-yu, 20, Wong Nga-wing, 19, and Ma Kin-man, 20, who pleaded guilty to rioting between Chatham Road South and Cheong Wan Road on November 17 to 18, 2019.

Wong also pleaded guilty to possessing an instrument fit to damage property for keeping some liquid mixed with gas, a can of spray paint, a screwdriver, and a box of matches.

In District Court today, Judge Josiah Lam Wai-kuen said the anti-extradition bill movement in 2019 started as peaceful protests but was later hijacked by a few people who worshiped violence and became illegal.

Lam noted that many youngsters held ideals and were passionate about them, so they joined the illegal assemblies and riots without thinking it through. Although they didn’t engage in violent acts, they supported or encouraged others to do so by appearing at the crime scene, thus breaking the law.

Lam stressed the court is no place to handle political issues but will punish those who break the law accordingly.

“A person and a society should continue to reflect themselves and make corrections. However, this must be done peacefully and legally,” Lam said.

In mitigation, the defense said Chen and Ma admitted they had tried marijuana out of curiosity but promised to quit it for good. The defense also called on the court to accept a report that suggested sending Wong to a training center.

Given that the trio committed the crime when aged 16 to 17, Lam sent them to a training center as he noted the sentencing matched their roles in the riots and was more appropriate than putting them in jail.

Lam added that the defendants were young and could still have a bright future ahead of them, telling them to ponder what they would do with their lives.

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