• Fri
  • Oct 24, 2014
  • Updated: 2:01am
NewsHong Kong

Attack on pro-independence activist 'infringed his freedom of speech'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 July, 2014, 7:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 July, 2014, 3:43am

An assault on a pro-independence activist who trespassed at a military barracks was nothing less than an infringement of the right to free speech, a magistrate said yesterday.

Chan Ngok-yuen yesterday pleaded guilty to one count of common assault in Eastern Court, just metres from the spot where he slapped Billy Chiu Hin-chung when Chiu appeared before the court last month.

Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai said: "This is a serious offence, because it infringed someone else's freedom of speech."

The court heard that Chan slapped Chiu as he arrived at court on June 19 to be sentenced for illegally entering the People's Liberation Army's Central barracks. Chiu, founder of pro-independence group Hongkongese Priority, was chanting slogans and waving banners with fellow activists when Chan approached him and slapped him twice on the face, causing Chiu to lose his balance and fall to the ground.

After receiving a suspended sentence for the incursion at the barracks, Chiu went to hospital for a check-up.

Defence counsel Patrick Tam Kin-yip told the court the offence was an isolated incident, and that his client carried out the attack "out of momentary impulse".

He said Chan, who was walking by the court, was upset after hearing the victim call for independence for Hong Kong. But Chainrai asked: "The fact that it took place outside the court is not an aggravating factor?"

Tam replied that Chiu's injury was not serious, and that his client had admitted the offence to police under caution. However, the court was told that Chan did not express regret when questioned by police.

There was confusion over Chan's profession. The magistrate was told yesterday that the defendant worked at a funeral parlour, while a document given to the court said he was retired. Tam said his client did some freelance shifts.

Chainrai ordered reports on the suitability of probation and community service. She adjourned sentencing to August 13.

Outside court, Chan was greeted by a crowd of supporters wearing T-shirts and badges indicating their opposition to the Occupy Central pro-democracy movement. They yelled slogans of support for the defendant.

Chan was ushered to a waiting seven-seater vehicle and driven away.


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Billy was faking it and dived to the floor. Hes got no chin to strike anyway.
A slap constituting a simple common assault, in my opinion, is not a "serious offence."
This is only the subjective opinion of the magistrate. The term "serious" is neither written into the legislation nor is it established by case stated in the High Court. Rape and murder are "serious offences".
There are far too many cases in recent years of magistrates and District Court judges 're-writing ' legislation through their own wild interpretations because they think the executive branch of government will praise them.
In the United Kingdom , from where we inherited most of our laws, a first conviction for an offence of this nature would be a binding over to be of good behaviour, community service or a small fine.
If you start extending the term "serious" to a slap or even a punch, we are ultimately heading for a judicial system breakdown
Ms Chainrai was neither legislating nor suggesting it was serious among all offences. She was stating her view, as she is required by our law to do, of the place of this particular instance on the scale of seriousness for this particular crime. captam is sadly lacking in the most rudimentary understanding of law, which is hardly surprising, given the astonishingly low value he places on the right to freedom of speech protected by our law (and which, paradoxically, he exercises liberally almost daily on these pages).
I confess I broke into laughter when I see this man slapping this yob to the ground. Sometime we do need vigilantes.
Then you are a most despicable person.
First, this is an assault based on an opinion.
Second it is an assault by a 58 year old on a youth.... Thus betraying the obligation of the older and more experienced person to guide the young, assuming the young are wrong.
Next, because the idea of vigilantes is precisely what the rule of law is intended to avert, for the greater good of all, and to minimize violence in society.
Finally, because happening on the steps of the court, it was affront to the principle of justice as a measured procedure, delivered by the authorities after due process, not by an aggressive animal unable to control his base feelings, even on a matter of abstract politics.
God save us from dangerous and abusive types such as you, ngsw.
To *****, I watched in the cinema the movie “Death Wish” and the sequels in which Charles Bronson acted as a vigilante to kill the bad guys. The audience broke into a roar at each of these scenes. So I have a lot of depicable companies. Dont miss these great movies in TV although they are slow in this era’s tempo.
Calm down No Name. Billy's lucky he wasn't shot. As it is he has a glass jaw and should maybe stick to origami or something more suited to his "abstract" principles.
I concur *chuckle*
The protester doesn't exactly have the charisma or the photogenic quality to be the poster boy for the movement. Sadly, even good politics require good marketing and branding and lets just say this kid's looks invite hostility. I don't condone any forms of violence, but I regret to admit that this incident has given me guilty pleasures, seeing this man slapping him silly kind of made my day.
Oxymoron is well named in the second half of his name.
Interesting paradox.
An oxymoron who actually is a moron...


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