Mong Kok riot

Hong Kong independence activist Edward Leung files appeal against Mong Kok riot conviction and jail sentence

Former student leader was earlier found guilty of taking part in unrest that broke out in busy shopping district in 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 8:57am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2018, 4:21pm

Hong Kong independence activist Edward Leung Tin-kei, who was jailed for six years over his role in the Mong Kok riot, has filed an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

On May 18, a nine-member jury unanimously found the former convenor of political group Hong Kong Indigenous guilty on one count of taking part in the riot on February 8, 2016, the first day of the Lunar New Year, and on the following day.

High Court Judge Anthea Pang Po-kam sentenced Leung, 27, to six years in jail on June 11, describing the unrest that rocked the busy shopping district as “organised violence” that was “extremely serious”.

Pang added that the offences committed that night could not be mitigated by one’s political aspirations.

Edward Leung riot sentence: too harsh, or necessary as deterrent?

This was the second-most severe punishment handed to a Hong Kong protester since public order laws were introduced in the city in the 1960s.

During the trial, the former University of Hong Kong student admitted to physically assaulting a police sergeant by kicking and hitting him with a wooden board. The 12-month sentence for that offence will run concurrently with the six-year term.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice said on Monday it had received a notice of the application for leave to appeal from Leung that day against the conviction and sentence for the riot charge.

The length of Leung’s sentence was surpassed only by the penalty given to his co-defendant in the same case, Lo Kin-man, 31, who was jailed for seven years for one count of rioting.

A third defendant, Wong Ka-kui, 27, who admitted to one count of rioting, was jailed for 3½ years.

Lo and Wong filed appeals last week.

Soon after his sentencing, Leung posted on his Facebook page: “If I can take lessons away from what happened today, and continue to fight for our future generations, I believe my parents will be happy.”

Edward Leung releases statement after being jailed for six years

Prosecutors during the trial described how the night of chaos in 2016 began on Portland Street with what appeared to be a scuffle between hawker control officers and street vendors. It escalated quickly into violent clashes during which angry mobs hurled objects at police, who resorted to pepper spray and batons to disperse them.

A policeman drew his gun and fired two warning shots at one point as he tried to protect an unconscious colleague from the rioters.

So far, 91 people have been arrested in connection with the riot, and 28 of them have been convicted.