Mong Kok riot

Hong Kong teen given 18 months’ probation for throwing brick at policeman during Mong Kok riot

Magistrate says she believes Chan Ho-man, 18, is regretful and has learnt to be responsible for own behaviour

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 January, 2017, 12:34pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 January, 2017, 9:42pm

A teenage McDonald’s worker who hurled a brick at a police officer during the Mong Kok riot last February was put on 18 months’ probation by the Kowloon City Court on Monday morning.

Chan Ho-man, 18, earlier pleaded guilty to one count of assault causing actual bodily harm.

A range of reports on the fast-food worker, including a young offender assessment and one on his suitability for rehabilitation and detention, suggested the defendant was impulsive and easily influenced by others, but was regretful over his behaviour.

Watch: Protest turned riot in Mongkok

In sentencing, magistrate Veronica Heung Shuk-han said the offence was serious as Chan had attacked an innocent officer who was carrying out his duties. It was out of pure luck that the policeman did not suffer serious injuries.

Heung also slammed the defendant for being naive and having poor judgement and no direction in life.

“But after being remanded in custody for three weeks, the defendant has tasted the feeling of losing freedom and has reflected on himself. He also had a memorable 18th birthday under custody,” the magistrate said.

“I believe the defendant learned to be responsible for his behaviour, and he felt regretful. Therefore putting him on probation order as suggested by the reports is an appropriate sentence.”

The 18-month probation order includes one year of residential rehabilitation. Chan is forbidden from leaving the house between 9pm and 6am for the entire period.

In mitigation, Chan’s barrister Roland Lau said the defendant started joining social movements since the 2014 Occupy movement and had learned a lesson when he was remanded in custody.

“Unfortunately the Occupy movement was a peaceful one, while the Mong Kok riot had turned violent.”

“He learned he could voice his views in a peaceful way,” the lawyer added.

Last month, Heung received an envelope containing 12cm-long paper cutter a day after Chan admitted to throwing a palm-sized brick at a uniformed police constable, causing the officer’s left knee to bleed, at the junction of Nathan Road and Shantung Street in the early hours of February 9.

Heung stressed that she believed the delivery of the cutter was irrelevant to this case.

“I have to emphasise that the event was not in my consideration when I handed down the sentence,” the magistrate said.

Chan was originally charged with wounding, but the charge was later reduced to a lesser one.

The clashes erupted in Mong Kok, one of the city’s busiest hubs, on the first night of the Lunar New Year.

The riot resulted in nearly 100 police officers being injured and two live rounds being fired as warning shots.

In December, the same magistrate jailed two men for up to three months for separately throwing rubbish bin and assaulting police during the same clash in Mong Kok.