Hongkonger gets 100 hours of community service after admitting Facebook post offering HK$10,000 to beat a cop to death
Immigration Department employee sent message out of dissatisfaction with police in February but filed report with them after drawing online harassment
An immigration assistant who claimed on Facebook he would donate HK$10,000 to any organisation that beat a Hong Kong police officer to death following the Mong Kok riot in February was slapped with 100 hours of community service by a court on Friday.
Chu Hang-chi, 30, also faces an Immigration Department disciplinary proceeding that could strip him of his job, from which he has been suspended since his arrest on February 13. But he was still drawing pay until he admitted the offence earlier this month.
Tuen Mun Court previously heard that Chu and his family had been experiencing harassment since the message was posted in February as their personal information was posted online, with some people threatening to report and kill him.
That prompted him to file a report with the police days later on February 13, claiming his Facebook account had been hacked. But when he was asked to sign the report, he suddenly confessed that it was he who posted the message out of anger and dissatisfaction towards the police.
Acting principal magistrate Merinda Chow said one must be cautious in one’s speech because it can quickly circulate online.
“What you wrote caused great noise,” she said in sentencing Chu on one count of knowingly attempting to mislead a police officer. “Some people felt disgusted and so they attacked you.”
The case centred on a Facebook post on Chu’s account on or about February 9, following unrest in Mong Kok that saw clashes between police and protesters.
“The people will use their way to sanction you,” the post stated. “If you choose to fall as a foot soldier of the empire, then death is not to be regretted. I give my word here, if any organisation is to beat a cop to death, I will donate ten thousand dollars to that organisation.”
The post had referred to the alleged assault of former Civic Party activist Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, for which seven police officers are now standing trial, and one involving passer-by Osman Cheng Chung-hang by the now-retired superintendent Franklin Chu King-wai during the Occupy movement in 2014.
“When the seven police officers assaulted someone, it took a year to charge them with a lesser charge,” the post continued. “Yet Chu King-wai made it to his retirement and tried to interfere with the Independent Police Complaints Council’s decision.”
Counsel Joshua Choy said in mitigation his client had been under a lot of pressure at the time of the post because his wife was suffering from post-partum depression and his infant son had Erb’s palsy.
“He felt perplexed and confused about what was happening in society so he foolishly committed the offence,” he added.