Judge hands down 36-month terms, sends 19-year-old to train­ing cen­ter

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CAR­RIE QIU in Hong Kong car­rieqiu@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

The Dis­trict Court sen­tenced two peo­ple to three years in prison on Mon­day for in­volve­ment in a riot in Mong Kok dis­trict on Lu­nar New Year’s Eve in 2016.

Law Ho-yin, 21 and Lin Yun-faat, 26, were con­victed in July of ri­ot­ing.

The judge also or­dered Chris Yung Tsz-hin, 19, to be held in a train­ing cen­ter.

In hand­ing down the sen­tences, Judge Frankie Yiu Fun-che said that in a densely pop­u­lated city with busy traf­fic like Hong Kong, a riot could spread very quickly and have se­vere con­se­quences. He added that when the Mong Kok in­ci­dent took place, hun­dreds of peo­ple con­gre­gated and con­fronted po­lice, which could se­verely dis­rupt so­cial order and put pub­lic safety at risk.

The court was told that Lin threw bricks at po­lice while the other two stood at the front in a stand­off with po­lice and held glass bot­tles.

Although there was no pho­to­graphic ev­i­dence that Yung and Law threw the bot­tles at the of­fi­cers, ev­i­dence showed in­tent to at­tack, Yiu said.

The judge said that con­sid­er­ing how the ac­tions of the three had added to the mas­sive riot, and tak­ing into ac­count pre­vi­ous sen­tences, the ap­pro­pri­ate penalty for the cur­rent case should start at 42 months.

How­ever, Yiu sen­tenced Law and Lin to 36 months, say­ing that there was no di­rect ev­i­dence that Law would have at­tacked the po­lice of­fi­cers, and cit­ing Lin’s good back­ground as a mit­i­gat­ing fac­tor.

Mean­while, Yiu sent Yung to the train­ing cen­ter, say­ing there was no di­rect ev­i­dence that the 19-year-old at­tacked po­lice and not­ing that re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion is crit­i­cal for Yung be­cause of his age.

Train­ing cen­ters are an al­ter­na­tive for of­fend­ers be­tween 14 and 21 years old. It em­pha­sizes re­form and pre­ven­tion of fu­ture crimes. The du­ra­tion of de­ten­tions in train­ing cen­ters is de­ter­mined by the com­mis­sioner and can run from six months to three years.

The riot, which hit the pop­u­lar Hong Kong tourist spot of Mong Kok late at night on the first day of 2016’s Lu­nar New Year, in­volved pro­test­ers throw­ing bricks and set­ting fire to pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties. More than 100 po­lice of­fi­cers and at least four re­porters were in­jured.

The po­lice have so far ar­rested 90 peo­ple — 79 men and 11 women — in con­nec­tion with the riot. They face charges rang­ing from ri­ot­ing to ar­son and il­le­gal as­sem­bly, and as­sault­ing and re­sist­ing po­lice of­fi­cers. To date, nine have been con­victed.

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