An elderly man in Hong Kong has won an appeal against his sentence for assaulting police, with his jail term reduced from six months to three weeks. Madam Justice Anthea Pang Po-kam said the lower court had erred in principle and imposed a manifestly excessive sentence on Chung Chi-wah, 62, following his guilty plea on May 16 over one count of common assault and another of assaulting a police officer. His case received wide attention because a hospital video had circulated showing a separate altercation between Chung and some officers after he was detained. Three officers involved in that incident will stand trial for misconduct. Chung had been released on bail pending appeal since June 5 and was immediately freed after his High Court hearing last Friday. The saga began on June 25 last year when the retiree got into a row with others at Tin Ping Estate in Sheung Shui. He scolded a man for filming the incident and suddenly attacked him – first by spitting on his head, then kicking his abdomen and finally punching his right eye three times. Chung’s aggressiveness persisted when police arrived, and he punched an officer, causing a 1cm-long cut on the sergeant’s left cheek that did not require stitches. Eyewitnesses at the scene recalled Chung reeked of alcohol and that he was incoherent at the time. Chung was then sent to North District Hospital, where he alleged he was assaulted by three police officers, with the incident caught on surveillance cameras. He later apologised through his lawyers at Fanling Court, and explained that he had committed the assault after drinking 10 cans of beer because he felt angry from an argument with his wife. Acting principal magistrate Don So Man-lung then sentenced Chung to two months for common assault and four months for assaulting police, after granting him a one-third discount for his guilty plea, ordering the two terms to be served consecutively. Man freed after judge rules sentence for assaulting officer, drunken attack in park too hefty In a judgment handed down on Monday, Pang said it was a serious crime to assault a police officer during the execution of his duties and the court would not condone such behaviour so it would generally impose a deterrent sentence in the form of immediate imprisonment. But the judge questioned if Chung’s assault of the officer warranted the maximum term of six months when he had punched the sergeant once and his victim had fortunately suffered only minor injuries. “The court does not believe the present case belonged to the most serious category of its kind,” Pang wrote. “Hence, the magistrate’s adoption of the maximum sentence of six months as the starting point was in principle an error and manifestly excessive.” Pang also observed that Chung did not plan or collaborate with others when he attacked his first victim, so the term he received for common assault was too long. She further concluded that the two sentences ought to be partly served together, finding the magistrate had failed to pay sufficient regard to the principle of totality. Given Chung’s background and the time he had served, Pang sided with the defence in reducing his sentence to allow for immediate release. Meanwhile, the three officers accused of assaulting Chung – Au Kwok-wai, Tang Man-him and Lam Yik-sing – will stand a five-day trial for misconduct in public office, set to begin at the District Court on November 23.