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Mong Kok riot

Chris Patten feels for Edward Leung, but would he have felt the same about rioting hooligans?

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 June, 2018, 6:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 June, 2018, 6:45pm

After Hong Kong’s pro-independence activist Edward Leung Tin-kei was sentenced to six years in prison, I was expecting to hear criticisms from some quarters who believe the punishment was on the harsh side.

However, I was dumbfounded and dismayed to learn of Chris Patten’s comment: “It is disappointing to see that the legislation is now being used politically to place extreme sentences on the pan-democrats and other activists.”

That came after the jailings of Leung, a former spokesman for localist group Hong Kong Indigenous, and his co-defendant, Lo Kin-man (who got seven years), for their roles in the Mong Kok riot of early 2016.

I wonder if Patten would still feel the same way had these convicted youngsters not been young political activists but ordinary hooligans rioting on the streets.

Grenville Cross, the former director of public prosecutions, quite rightly dismissed Patten’s remarks as “ignorant and ill-informed” (“Edward Leung riot sentence: too harsh, or necessary as deterrent?”, June 11).

In my opinion, hiding behind political beliefs when breaking the law can never be condoned and should not be tolerated by society.

Cecilia Clinch, MacDonnell Road