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Hong Kong courts

Hong Kong golf coach who punched protester in crotch given suspended jail sentence

Tong Chun-po, 57, grabbed Labour Party member Oscar Lo by the neck and shoved him to the ground during demonstration over use of Fanling golf course to build housing

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 September, 2018, 9:30am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 September, 2018, 9:30am

An angry golf coach who hit a protester in the crotch before grabbing his neck and shoving him to the ground during a demonstration at Hong Kong’s biggest golf course was given a suspended jail sentence on Thursday.

Fanling Court heard that the attack outside the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling on April 27 left Labour Party member Oscar Lo, 27, with red marks and swelling on his neck, as well as a minor cut on his left elbow.

At the time, Lo was taking part in a small demonstration calling for the site to be used to build more housing for the city, while the club was hosting a press conference announcing the formation of the Hong Kong Alliance of Golfers, which would gather views on whether the course should be saved from development.

Prosecutors said the scuffle broke out when Lo approached the club but was intercepted by golf coach Tong Chun-po, 57.

Without warning, Tong hit Lo’s private parts, grabbed his neck and pushed him to the ground.

Tong pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, an offence punishable by three years’ imprisonment.

His lawyer had called for the case to be settled with a fine, arguing that his client had committed his first offence because he had been blinded by anger and that the victim did not suffer serious injuries.

Demonstration over Fanling golf course turns violent

But that sentencing option was rejected by deputy magistrate Samuel Yip Chung-him, who then ordered a report on the suitability of unpaid community service.

A four-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, was eventually imposed on Thursday after Yip accepted the report’s conclusion that Tong was not suitable for the manual labour required during community service because of his hand injuries and pain in his knees.

The development of the 170-hectare golf course in Fanling has been mooted as a way of easing the city’s housing shortage.

The idea was listed among 18 land supply options in a five-month public consultation – launched by a government-appointed committee – that will conclude this month.