image

Parallel trading

Woman convicted of assaulting Hong Kong policeman with breast wins appeal against jail term

But Ng Lai-ying and company fail to overturn convictions over fracas at Yuen Long anti-parallel trader protest

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 August, 2016, 11:34am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 August, 2016, 10:59pm

A Hong Kong woman convicted of using her breast to assault a policeman at a protest against mainland parallel traders last year failed to clear her name yesterday, but may avoid going to jail.

Ng Lai-ying, 30, guilty of assaulting Chief Inspector Chan Ka-po, successfully appealed against her jail sentence of three months and 15 days. But she failed in her attempt to overturn her conviction, which earlier drew a great deal of press coverage worldwide.

The court will look into her suitability for community service, but she may still go to prison.

Handing down her written judgment, Mrs Justice Judianna Barnes wrote it appeared Ng was trying to get lover Kwong Chun-lung off the hook when she bumped Chan with her breast and yelled “indecent assault” during the protest in Yuen Long on March 1 last year. “Although her action could not be said to be excusable, the court should consider it was under this circumstance that she committed the offence,” she continued.

But the judge noted that the offence remained serious in that she falsely accused Chan of indecent assault, which could have incited the crowd. She warned Ng that if she failed to display remorse, she may still face a jail term.

Kwong, 20, who was earlier found guilty of obstructing Chan, also successfully overturned his original sentence of time at a training centre, but not his conviction. A probation officer’s report has been sought on him.

Outside the High Court, Ng gasped: “I was relieved.”

She and Kwong said they both respected the court’s decision.

Poon Tsz-hang, 22, and an unnamed 15-year-old boy, also failed to clear their names, but successfully appealed against their custodial sentences. All will be sentenced on September 26.

During the trial, the Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Court heard the boy was the first to bump the inspector with his shoulder on the road at Sau Fu Street. Kwong obstructed Chan when he tried to stop the inspector from catching the boy.

Chan accused Ng of assaulting him by bumping him with her chest and yelling “police indecent assault”, when she tried to make Chan let go of Kwong.

The case made international headlines, and women’s rights protesters took to the streets to express their bewilderment as to how Ng could have used her breast as a weapon.

Anger at parallel traders ran high last year in districts near the border as mainlanders used multiple-entry visas to bring goods, such as baby milk formula, home to sell at a profit. It caused crowding and shortage of the goods, sparking a wave of protests.

The teenager convicted of assaulting Chan was sentenced to time at a rehabilitation centre, but will now be assessed by a probation officer. University student Poon was originally given five months and a week in jail for obstructing a police officer, but a community service report was ordered on him too.

All were granted bail.