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21 jailed for up to 42 months for rioting during 2019 Hong Kong protest

Aged between 19 and 40, the defendants, seven of whom were students, were accused of rioting in Sheung Wan on July 28, 2019.


10 JANUARY 2022

In the largest rioting case relating to the 2019 protests and unrest, 21 people have been sentenced to between 30 months and 42 months in jail for rioting during a protest in Sheung Wan in 2019.

The protest on July 28, 2019 in Sheung Wan. File Photo: May James/HKFP.

A total of 25 defendants were charged with rioting and related offences in connection with clashes between protesters and police on July 28, 2019. The protest took place a week after more than 100 rod-wielding men stormed Yuen Long MTR station on July 21, leaving 45 people injured – including journalists, protesters, commuters and pro-democracy lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting.

Protests erupted in June 2019 over a since-axed extradition bill. They escalated into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police behaviour, amid calls for democracy and anger over Beijing’s encroachment.

21 of 25 found guilty

District Court judge Johnny Chan handed down sentences ranging from two and a half years to nearly four years on Saturday to 20 people found guilty during a trial in November and one who pled guilty earlier, Ming Pao reported. Aged between 19 and 40, the defendants, seven of whom were students, were accused of rioting between Western Street and Des Voeux Road West.

File Photo: May James/HKFP.

Chan said protesters’ gear and equipment demonstrated that they had come prepared, and so a riot was not unexpected. Video footage taken by the press showed the number of protesters far exceeded those of the police, with some throwing sticks, metal rods and umbrellas at officers, InMedia reported Chan as saying.

Responding to the mitigation plea of defendant Andy Kan, who submitted that the July 28 protest was in response to the Yuen Long attack, Chan said using a riot to respond to another riot “would not solve any problems,” InMedia reported. People should not resort to violence or any means possible in order to fulfil what they believed were their ideals, Chan said, adding that Kan had tried to legitimise rioting but his beliefs did not constitute a reason to mitigate his sentence

File Photo: May James/HKFP.

During his mitigation in December, Kan, who did not have a legal counsel, quoted American civil rights activist Martin Luther King, saying that “a riot is the language of the unheard,” as he admitted to rioting without remorse. “When riots happened in a city, those who should feel ashamed were not its citizens, but its government,” he was reported as saying at the time.


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