Community service for June 4 protesters
A LEGISLATIVE Councillor's assistant and a district board member convicted of unlawful assembly after a protest outside Xinhua (the New China News Agency) were yesterday ordered to undertake 160 hours of community service.
Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, 25, aide to legislator Lau Chin-shek, and Wong Tai Sin District Board member Andrew To Kwan-hang, 27, said they planned to file an appeal against conviction next week.
They received the support of about 30 student demonstrators who gathered outside the court to burn a poster symbolising the Public Order Ordinance which carries provisions on unlawful assembly.
Magistrate Alan Wright said he considered community service to be ''singularly appropriate'' in the case of Tsoi and To.
He had adjourned sentencing until after a review at Eastern Court of their conviction. The review finished earlier this month with the decision the conviction should be upheld.
Tsoi and To pleaded not guilty to a summons of unlawful assembly, but were found guilty in June this year.
Their counsel Martin Lee Chu-ming, QC, a Legislative Councillor, had argued they had only been exercising their right to peaceful assembly as provided by the Bill of Rights when they demonstrated outside Xinhua in the early hours of June 5 last year.
The protest commemorated the June 4, 1989, crackdown.
Mr Lee's junior, Wong Hin-lee yesterday asked the court to suspend the community service order until after the appeal.
Mr Wright said he did not have the power to do that.
After the hearing, To said: ''I'm really disappointed about the conviction. [But] as far as I am concerned community service is not a problem compared with people in China who are in prison.
''We do not oppose the sentence but we insist that we did not do any wrong.'' Surrounded by demonstrators campaigning for the Public Order Ordinance to be amended, he said he believed the section on unlawful assembly should be changed. The English law equivalent was amended in 1986.
The ordinance was due to be discussed during the next session of the Legislative Council, a spokesman for the Government Secretariat said.