First three Mong Kok riot accused to face trial in February 2017
Two students and a cook all indicate they will plead not guilty to joint charge of rioting during Lunar New Year
The first round of individuals accused of rioting in Mong Kok during the Lunar New Year will stand trial early next year.
Lawyers of students Hui Ka-ki, 22, and Mak Tsz-hei, 19, and cook Sit Tat-wing, 33, on Tuesday indicated that the three defendants intended to plead not guilty.
They face one joint charge of rioting, which allegedly took place on the northbound lane of Nathan Road, near Soy Street, on February 9.
The District Court heard that one of them allegedly threw bamboo during the unrest.
Prosecutors are expected to call 20 police offiers as witnesses, and will rely on footage taken by both the police and TVB.
But prosecutors did not plan to summon photographers who made the cited footage.
A pre-trial review is scheduled for January 13, ahead of a trial starting on February 6.
Prosecutor Andy Lo Tin-wai said 10 days should be sufficient for the trial, factoring in time to decide the admissibility of evidence.
He added that all three defendants were arrested on site.
The defence meanwhile, had indicated they would dispute aspects of Sit’s cautioned statement, including its voluntariness.
Judge Anthony Kwok Kai-on reminded all three defendants to keep in touch with their lawyers and abide by bail conditions, which included an injunction over the alleged site of the offence.
“The charge faced by the three of you carries a certain degree of severity. Otherwise you wouldn’t be in District Court,” Kwok said. “Please keep in touch with the Legal Aid lawyer assigned to you.”
At least 55 people have been charged over the Mong Kok riot since February, with 20 of them discharged from prosecution due to insufficient evidence.
Hui, Mak and Sit make up the first batch of defendants transferred from Kowloon City Court to have their cases heard at the District Court, with two more batches – of five and 10 defendants – to be brought to the same court.
The cases are currently divided such that there won’t be any overlap in witnesses, location and time of offence, Lo explained.