Don’t be an ‘otaku’, magistrate tells student who threatened policeman’s daughter during Occupy
A student was given 180 hours of community service today for posting a threatening message about a police sergeant's daughter online during last year’s Occupy protests, after a magistrate warned him not to be an otaku.
Deputy magistrate Winston Leung Wing-chung cited the Japanese term – generally referring to anime fanatics who are too socially inept to leave home – when he sentenced Tong Wai-leung, 20, at Eastern Court.
“Don’t be the so-called otaku,” Leung told Tong, who previously pleaded guilty to one count of criminal intimidation.
“Socialise more with others in society, and through hard work, you would grasp the meaning of living in this world,” the magistrate added.
Tong admitted earlier that he posted the threatening message on Golden Forum, a popular online portal among local youngsters, after he grew angry reading about the sergeant’s mistreatment of protesters.
The message, which Tong took from another post and altered before reposting, claimed that triads were willing to pay HK$600,000 for the policeman’s daughter’s arm and leg. The message, which at the bottom said it was not real, was removed within 12 hours upon Tong’s request.
Before sentencing Tong, Leung called the offence serious, saying that “the confidence and efficiency police have are the cornerstone of a prosperous society” and that no one should attack the cornerstone.
However, he also took into consideration Tong’s mental conditions: medical reports said he suffered from adjustment disorder, depression, and pervasive developmental disorder, a form of autism.
Tong’s counsel Crystal Chan told the court that Tong, had delayed speech development when he was a child. This made it hard for his worried parents to find him a kindergarten, and the stubborn student also experienced difficulties making friends.
During the umbrella movement, Tong had no one to talk to because he had different views to his parents, and he committed the offence after browsing the internet while he was doing an assignment, Chan said.
The medical reports also said Tong suffered from anxiety and had developed mild suicidal thoughts.
Another report, conducted by a probation officer, recommended a probation order rather than community service, but Leung, who initially suggested a custodial sentence, said he had to strike a balance between the deterring effect and Tong’s background.
He therefore ruled community service was appropriate, on the condition that Tong complied with probation officers’ requests and continued therapy for his disorders.
Leung also said it was a chance for Tong’s parents to understand that their son required extra care.