Pro-independence activist and three co-defendants charged police during Mong Kok riot, court is told
- Prosecutor told the High Court that Edward Leung was one of four protesters who rushed police in the unrest in February 2016
- All four caught on camera charging upon the order of Hong Kong Indigenous spokesman Ray Wong, says prosecutor
Hong Kong prosecutors on Wednesday accused pro-independence activist Edward Leung Tin-kei and three men of charging at police when riots broke out in one of the city’s most popular shopping districts two years ago.
The High Court heard the four men were among crowds that grew increasingly violent as their unlawful assembly on February 8, 2016 escalated overnight into riots that lit up multiple streets in Mong Kok.
Their gathering was allegedly foreshadowed in a Facebook post published earlier in the day by local group Hong Kong Indigenous, which called on readers to “valiantly defend” the local characteristic of street hawkers from government law enforcement at Portland Street that evening.
Facing the bulk of the charges is delivery worker Yung Wai-yip, 34, who has denied three counts of rioting, and one each of taking part in an unlawful assembly, inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly and assaulting a police officer.
He also pleaded not guilty to one joint count of rioting with his three co-defendants: then Hong Kong Indigenous spokesman Leung, 26, technician Vincent Lam Ngo-hin, 23, and Lee Nok-man, 21, who is unemployed.
Prosecutor Eric Kwok Tung-ming SC said on the third day of his opening speech that Yung was first spotted in a face mask and a blue top among crowds on Portland Street, twice raising his hand as though he was gesturing the people behind him.
One video played in court purportedly showed him cupping his hands around his mouth while shouting: “Let’s help out.”
Yung was next identified in a later piece of footage filmed after midnight, which showed a stand-off between crowds and police officers armed with shields.
To his left, according to Kwok, stood his three co-defendants and Hong Kong Indigenous spokesman Ray Wong Toi-yeung, who was heard shouting through a megaphone.
“If Hongkongers don’t want dirty cops or the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to assault our citizens, we cannot back down tonight,” Wong said.
Then, turning to police, he continued: “You want to play? I’m going to play with you.”
Another video allegedly showed Lee, in a face mask and a hood, shouting in response with expletives: “Did you hear that?”
Lam, on the other hand, was identified as the man with a long ponytail wearing his baseball cap backwards, talking to people in blue jackets – emblazoned with the words “Hong Kong Indigenous” – and gesturing with his hands like he was teaching the others how to use their shields.
It was further alleged that he was caught throwing an object at police in a news clip.
Kwok said all four men charged at police after Wong shouted: “Ready? Three, two, one, go.”
“All four defendants were involved in the riot at Portland Street,” the prosecutor continued.
Footage filmed by police showed scores of protesters charging at police, which resulted in a cacophony of noises – of people shouting, gears clashing and flying objects clattering on police shields.
Above them, an officer was heard shouting: “Stop charging. Do not engage in further violence. Do not throw stones, do not throw glass bottles.”
Kwok said that, later, at 2.12am, Yung was spotted blocking a car as he stood next to a pile of rubbish scattered near a road junction, which was set on fire just minutes after he walked away.
Yung was next identified among protesters on Nathan Road, where he was said to have hurled two water bottles at police, and later at Shantung Street, where he is said to have thrown a brick.
A video filmed at close to 7am on February 9 placed Yung at the junction of Fa Yuen Street and Soy Street, with a brick in hand, Kwok said.
The jury trial continues on Thursday before Mr Justice Albert Wong Sung-hau.