Activist who assaulted officer heading for jail

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 December, 2008, 12:00am

A court has found a protester guilty of assaulting a policeman in January during a march calling for universal suffrage.

Julian Fung Ping-tak shoved police officer Li Kwok-chu on January 13 during a protest for universal suffrage by 2012 that the Civil Human Rights Front and pan-democrats organised. The interior designer was found guilty in Eastern Court of one charge of assaulting a police officer in the execution of his duty.

Magistrate William Lam Kui-po said 'jail cannot be avoided' because the High Court had said many times that assaulting a police officer was an imprisonable offence. He noted that Fung had pleaded not guilty and was convicted of a similar offence last year.

Mr Lam delayed sentencing until January 7 to provide time to consider background documents. He remanded Fung without bail.

Fung's lawyer, Erik Shum, said it was likely his client would appeal.

A dozen of Fung's friends and fellow rights activists attended the hearing. They denied that Fung had shoved the officer and said a jail sentence would be too harsh.

'We are very upset about the verdict and very upset with the judicial system,' said Jackie Hung Ling-yu, vice-convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front. '[The police] can keep kicking us and they can keep hitting us. As protesters, what rights do we have?'

The court heard that the incident happened in Wan Chai, near Hennessey Road Government Primary School. The policeman had instructions to limit the protesters, who were taking up four lanes of the road, to two lanes to allow traffic through.

Fung asked why all the lanes could not be open and shoved the officer in the chest with his elbow, causing him to fall. This summer, Fung was sentenced to two months in jail for assaulting an officer during a protest last year against the demolition of Queen's Pier, the court heard.