COURTS

Activist faces jail for resisting arrest during Legco new-towns protest

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 August, 2014, 4:44am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 August, 2014, 5:31am

An activist has been told he could face jail despite admitting resisting arrest during attempts to storm the Legislative Council building to protest against planned new towns in the New Territories.

Chan Nin, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of resisting arrest at Eastern Court yesterday, after the Department of Justice substituted that charge for a more serious offence of assaulting an officer.

Chan is the first to admit a crime in relation to three often unruly protests outside the Legco building in Admiralty, and Deputy Magistrate Lee Siu-ho told him a custodial sentence was "on the table" as an option.

The court heard that Chan used his elbow to push a police constable as he protested on June 13. The officer fell into a crowd of protesters and reporters, and got up to find Chan shouting and pointing. Chan refused to cooperate as the policeman and another officer tried to arrest him. Both officers suffered abrasions to their arms.

In mitigation, lawyer Jeffery Tam Chun-kit said his client, a chef, was a "logical adult" who had committed the offence out of impulse. The officers were not seriously injured, he said.

Adjourning sentence to September 3 for a community service report, Lee said the offence was serious and could have encouraged others to act similarly given the tense protest.

Activists and villagers gathered on three consecutive Fridays as Legco's Finance Committee approved a HK$340 million funding package for the new-town plans. They claimed villagers would lose their homes for minimal compensation while big developers would cash in. The government said the new towns were vital to its ambitious homebuilding targets.