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Friday, Mar 24, 2023

Two students jailed, one sent to training center over PolyU siege

Two students jailed, one sent to training center over PolyU siege

Two of three students arrested at the Science Museum after escaping from the Polytechnic University during the 2019 unrest were on Wednesday jailed for 15 to 18 months for rioting, while the remaining underage student was sent to a training center. 
The three are Leung Tsz-yeung, 26, from the University of Hong Kong, Hui Ning-hin, 22, from the Chinese University, and Cheung Tat-wing, 20, who returned to Hong Kong in February 2021. 

They had pleaded guilty to rioting outside Polytechnic University between Cheong Wan Road and Science Museum Road on November 18, 2019, earlier this month. Leung had also pleaded guilty to a count of possessing instrument fit for illegal purpose for keeping a spanner. 

Appearing in District Court before judge Stanley Chan Kwong-chi today, Leung was jailed for 18 months and Hui for 15 months. Cheung who was only 17-year-old at the time was sent to a training center. 

Judge Chan referred to the mitigation letter penned by Leung, who said his decision of participating in the riot was unwise and would choose a different path if he had another chance. Leung also said he could not leave his beloved home behind and chose to stay in Hong Kong to face his legal consequences, hoping to contribute to society and make this city a better place. 

Chan noted the letter, in which Leung expressed his determination and vision, was very touching but challenged he didn't reflect on putting himself in such a difficult position. “Unlike chanting slogans, it's not easy to understand the cruel nature of politics,” Chan said. 

Hui, on the other hand, expressed remorse to the court and said his lack of vision made him one of those who tore the society apart and cast a shadow over the city. Hui's family added he cared about the city and he committed the crime because he didn't think things through. 

Although Chan said Hui's mitigation letter was also touching, he questioned that Leung and Hui must have been taught to not cooperate with police for they both refused to take a statement after being arrested. 

Meanwhile, Chan pointed out that it was the correct decision for Cheung to return to the city to face his legal consequences, after he headed to Taiwan in August 2020 for an aviation program. Otherwise, Cheung would go into self-exile for the rest of his life and become a second-class citizen in other countries, the judge noted. 

After passing down the sentences for the trio, Chan said this case should be the pain of their lives but not live-long regret. Chan called on the trio not to let radical political ideology go into their heads again. 

As for the five co-defendants, a 20-year-old student Lee Ka-hei had earlier been sentenced to three years' detention in a training center. Kenny Chung Man-tsun, Kwok Chi-fan, Joyce Ma Ka-wai, and Yim Ka-long pleaded not guilty and will appear in court again as the trial continues tomorrow (Thu). 

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