Chef charged for throwing rubbish bin during Mong Kok riot
Chief inspector who arrested Chan Cheuk-hin, 27, tells court alleged act took place as protesters were hurling verbal abuse at police
A chef allegedly flung a rubbish bin onto a major road against a backdrop of protesters shouting verbal abuse at police officers during the Mong Kok riot in February, a chief police inspector told a court on Monday.
But Chan Cheuk-hin, 27, denied one count of behaving in a disorderly manner in a public place at Kowloon City Court. He was seen allegedly hurling the orange bin onto Nathan Road outside the May May Building in the early hours of February 9.
Another defendant, Chan Yu-kei, 20, also pleaded not guilty before the same court on Monday to two counts of assaulting a police officer at the same location.
Their barrister, Philip Wong, told Magistrate Veronica Heung Shuk-han that Chan Cheuk-hin would challenge whether his act amounted to a breach of law, and Chan Yu-kei would argue his assault was lawful on the grounds he had been stopping “someone” using violence against onlookers.
“If someone breaks the law and you prevent them doing so, that is not regarded as [being] in breach of the law,” Wong said.
Chan Yu-kei, the barrister said, would also challenge whether police had arrested the right suspect.
Testifying on Monday, chief inspector Chong Shing-yat, who arrested Chan Cheuk-hin, said he recalled seeing protesters trying to make their way to the road from pedestrian pathways when he reached the junction of Nathan Road and Argyle Street at 2.47am. He said protesters had been hurling verbal abuse at police officers.
Chong said he had then seen a thin man hurl a bin at the road, but officers had been unable to arrest him as they were blocked by protesters, most of whom were wearing surgical masks or covering their mouths and noses with clothing.
He had then headed towards Sham Shui Po along Nathan Road until he spotted Chan Cheuk-hin carrying out the same act.
“A person with a plump body, relatively plumper than the previous man, then threw a rubbish bin out to the road,” he said.
The chief inspector said he and Chan Cheuk-hin, clad in a surgical mask and black-framed spectacles, had been about six to seven metres apart. He ran up to Chan and caught him by his rucksack seconds after the bin had been thrown, he told the court.
Chong was obstructed by others when trying to subdue Chan, who struggled. But with the help of his colleagues, the chief inspector said, he eventually managed to handcuff the defendant.
In cross-examination, the barrister asked Chong if he had revealed his identity to the defendant and warned him before going after him. The inspector said time had been insufficient.
A video capturing the alleged incident was played in court on Monday in which protesters could be heard yelling “black police” and “open fire” at officers. It also showed a police officer repeatedly hitting someone with a baton who appeared to be a protester.
Chong was able to identify Chan Cheuk-hin in the video, saying he had been wearing a red top.
The court also heard that Chan Yu-kei had allegedly punched the chest of a police sergeant, who responded by hitting him several times with his baton on that night. After subduing Chan it was discovered that blood was running from Chan’s head and nose.
The trial continues before Magistrate Heung.