Ex-HKU student leader found guilty
The former leader of the University of Hong Kong Students’ Union Billy Fung Jingen on Thursday was convicted of disorderly conduct in a public place for besieging the university’s council members in January last year.
According to the Public Order Ordinance, anyone who behaves in a disorderly manner in a public place is liable to maximum imprisonment of 12 months and a fine of HK$5,000.
Sentencing was adjourned to Sept 21 but presiding Magistrate Ko Wai-hung warned, after calling for evidence in mitigation, that there was likely to be a jail sentence.
Handing down the ruling in West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court, Ko said it was obvious Fung was calling for protesters around Arthur Li Kwok-cheung to hem the council chairman in when he shouted twice: “Don’t let him go! Don’t let Arthur Li go! Kill him! Kill him!”
Fung was acquitted on another charge of criminal intimidation as the magistrate said the prosecution was unable to prove that what Fung said was meant for Li directly, as Fung was speaking in the third person.
But the magistrate said the conduct was obviously causing disorder or with intent to provoke others to breach the peace. This went beyond the freedom of speech and Fung’s constitutional rights.
Thus, Ko concluded Fung’s conduct was illegal.
Li, in an earlier hearing, testified that he had feared for his life when surrounded by agitated protesters. Ko believed Li had every reason to feel that way and found him to be a reliable witness.
Earlier, the 23-year-old Fung pleaded guilty to two different charges of criminal damage and attempted forcible entry. His co-defendant, Colman Li Fung-kei, 21, was found guilty of resisting and obstructing public officers in performance of public duty.
The court heard that Fung and Colman Li led about 80 students to encircle the council members who were leaving after a council meeting. The hours-long chaos led to several council members being taken away by ambulance.