A construction worker has been jailed for six weeks for assaulting three police officers by whistling loudly at them during the annual July 1 protest.
Sentencing Ki Chun-kei in Eastern Court yesterday, magistrate Ho Wai-yang acknowledged it was not the most serious kind of assault.
However, she said imprisonment was needed because Ki had a record of two similar offences more than a decade ago, for which he was also jailed.
An organiser of the march said the sentence was excessive. Ki is appealing against the conviction and is on bail.
The court heard earlier that Ki's whistling caused ringing in the ears of two auxiliary police officers, while a third was forced to take an immediate step back to avoid the noise.
Ho acknowledged that no officers suffered permanent injury and Ki did not use any tools other than his fingers. But the attack was intentional and not provoked by any intimidation.
Ho said she could not see any reason for suspending the term.
Ki, 50, was found guilty in January. At one point, the court heard, he whistled into an officer's right ear from a distance of less than 30 centimetres.
The officer told the court that the sound left him unable to hear clearly for two to three seconds.
In mitigation, lawyer Pauline Leung Po-lam cited the view of three doctors in psychological and mental health reports prepared for the court that Ki was an alcoholic, which might affect his decision-making skills.
"The offence was not committed after detailed planning. He had perhaps become impulsive after drinking," she said, noting that Ki had drunk alcohol on the day of the rally.
The amount he had drank varied in the three reports, she said.
Andrew Shum Wai-nam, of rally organiser Civil Human Rights Front, said he felt the penalty was too serious.
"He used only his fingers. Even though he had two criminal records before, the penalty sounds too heavy to me," he said.
"We are worried the police are changing tactics and are targeting ordinary participants, instead of just activists," he said.
In 2003, protester Sunny Leung Chun-wai was also found guilty of assault and jailed for two months after he shouted through a megaphone into a police officer's ear.