‘Long Hair’ facing jail term after conviction for protest is upheld

Lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung unlikely to lose his Legco seat but could lose his trademark locks, and plans to appeal decision

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 5:16pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2014, 3:28am

Lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung faces losing his trademark locks after his conviction for his role in disrupting a public forum was upheld on Monday.

But Leung is unlikely to lose his Legco seat, after Mr Justice Derek Pang Wai-cheong reduced Leung’s sentence from two months to four weeks.

A lawmaker who is jailed for one month or more can be stripped of his seat if a motion is passed by a two-thirds majority in Legco. But on Monday lawmakers and legal experts indicated that in this instance four weeks is likely to be interpreted as less than a month. 

Leung asked the judge to grant him bail and to postpone his jail sentence until during the summer break so that he could continue his campaigns, including a filibuster of the government’s funding application for the planned new technology bureau.

“I have to perform my duty [as a Legco member],” Leung said.

Pang said he had no jurisdiction to grant bail to Leung as the lawmaker had not filed a formal application of appeal to the Court of Final Appeal. He ordered Leung to be taken to a cell.

Leung now faces losing his trademark long hair, which he would be required to cut short in prison.

Watch: "Long Hair": Legco is an arena — you are there to kill the bull

Leung has 21 criminal convictions, all related to demonstrations or protests, since 1979. His hair was cut short once before in 2002, when he was jailed for two weeks for contempt of the Legislative Council.

On Monday, Leung’s lawyers said they would appeal the conviction and apply for bail very soon.

Four others – Wong Yeung-tat, 34, Yung Wai-tong, 61, Tang Kin-wa, 24, and Chan Sin-ying, 24 – had their convictions for acting in a disorderly manner upheld.

The four were jailed for three weeks.

Their convictions for causing a disturbance in a public forum were cancelled.

The judge quashed Leung’s conviction for behaving in a disorderly manner to prevent a public gathering but upheld his conviction on two counts of criminal damage and one of behaving in a disorderly manner with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, or where a breach of the peace is likely to be caused.

The forum was held on September 1, 2011 to discuss plans to scrap Legco by-elections. It took place at the Hong Kong Science Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui.

It was one of two the government held to consult on the proposal, introduced after Leung and other pan-democrats resigned in January 2010 to force a so-called de facto referendum on universal suffrage.