Two jailed in Hong Kong over riot protests

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Hong Kong, China - Two Hong Kong men were jailed for three years on ri­ot­ing charges on Mon­day, the lat­est in a se­ries of le­gal ac­tions against demon­stra­tors.

The un­rest in Fe­bru­ary 2016 saw po­lice fire warn­ing shots in the air in the com­mer­cial dis­trict of Mong Kok as they clashed with pro­test­ers who hurled bricks torn up from pave­ments and set rub­bish alight.

It was the worst vi­o­lence the city had seen for decades.

The demon­stra­tions were led by ‘lo­cal­ist’ ac­tivists seek­ing more au­ton­omy from Bei­jing, as fears grow that Hong Kong’s free­doms and iden­tity are un­der threat from Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties and the city’s pro-China lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

The vi­o­lent protests con­trasted with the largely peace­ful pro-democ­racy Um­brella Move­ment ral­lies of late 2014, which brought some busy streets to a stand­still for more than two months.

Law Ho-yin and Lin Yun-faat, both in their 20s, were given three-year sen­tences on Mon­day af­ter be­ing found guilty last month.

Chris Yung (19) was sent to a cor­rec­tional train­ing cen­tre for up to three years.

They all de­nied the charges. “Ri­ot­ing is a very se­ri­ous of­fence,” said judge Frankie Yiu. “Sen­tenc­ing should be se­vere and serve as a de­ter­rent.”

The court heard that Yung and Law were masked and of­ten at the front­line of the clashes.

Lin had hurled bricks and was sub­dued by po­lice, Yiu said in sen­tenc­ing.

The 2016 vi­o­lence was trig­gered by of­fi­cial at­tempts to re­move il­le­gal hawk­ers from the busy com­mer­cial neigh­bour­hood dur­ing Lu­nar New Year cel­e­bra­tions.

The bat­tles were dubbed the ‘fish­ball revo­lu­tion’ af­ter a favourite Hong Kong street snack sold by the hawk­ers, and re­flected un­der­ly­ing ten­sions over the ero­sion of the city’s tra­di­tions.

(AFP)

This file photo shows Hong Kong riot po­lice sil­hou­et­ted as ri­ot­ers burn de­bris on a street, in Hong Kong on Fe­bru­ary 9, 2016

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