Mong Kok riot

Hong Kong man denies attacking police with bamboo stick during Mong Kok riot

Officer who was allegedly assaulted says about 10 other protesters wielded the weapons on night of chaos

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 2:19pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2016, 10:05pm

An unemployed man denied jabbing a police officer’s shield twice with a 2.8-metre long bamboo stick during the Mong Kok riot in February, a court heard on Tuesday.

Churk Ling-hon, 32, pleaded not guilty at Kowloon City Court to one count of assaulting a police officer in the due execution of his duty.

Police constable Siu Chi-nang testified that Churk was standing three metres away from him and a wall of officers at Shantung Street during a brief standoff in the early hours of February 9 when the defendant jabbed a bamboo stick in his direction.

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“I blocked it with my shield and issued a verbal warning,” the officer continued. “The man ignored me and jabbed again.”

But as police moved forward, Siu recalled that Churk then turned to leave.

He was arrested when he fell to the ground, allowing Siu to restrain him while another officer handcuffed him.

The bamboo stick measured 2.8 metres in length and four centimetres in diameter.

Siu recalled there were more than 100 protesters at the chaotic scene, shouting abuse and hurling objects such as stones, glass bottles and rubbish bins. Ten among them were also holding bamboo sticks picked up outside a nearby bank, he said.

Prosecutors played multiple videos in court, but none captured the alleged assault.

Was it possible that you misidentified the person ... could you have been mistaken?
Defence counsel Annie Lai

Defence counsel Annie Lai argued the same videos showed her client was filming with his iPhone and a camera while holding a long lighting device.

The officer agreed he could not see the defendant holding a bamboo stick in the footage, but he disagreed that Churk had told police he was filming.

Lai asked: “Was it possible that you misidentified the person who jabbed your shield twice? Let’s be fair, could you have been mistaken?”

“I disagree,” Siu replied. “Because from the time I was attacked, my gaze was fixated on him ... I believe I was not mistaken.”

But the counsel continued: “I put to you that he was the target you could get hold of because he fell to the ground.

The officer disagreed.

Defence did not produce any photos or videos Churk purportedly took with the iPhone that day, claiming the device had been “reformatted” by police after it was seized. But prosecutor Catherine Ko denied the allegation.

The trial continues before magistrate Amy Chan Wai-mun.