A Hong Kong firefighter has been sentenced to 34 months’ jail for his role in an illegal 2019 anti-government protest where he was arrested with petrol bombs and other weapons in his possession. Fong Chi-hung is the first firefighter sentenced over offences committed during the months-long social unrest that gripped the city, triggered by the now-shelved extradition bill. The case centred on a demonstration in Mong Kok on November 10, 2019, when protesters responded to online calls to occupy roads in multiple districts and chant slogans in shopping malls, with violent clashes with police ensuing in some areas. In jailing the 34-year-old on Friday, District Court Judge Timothy Casewell said participation in an unlawful assembly involving violence warranted imprisonment, and that he could give “very little to no weight” to the firefighter’s excellent performance over a decade in the city’s fire services. The judge also sentenced two co-defendants – 26-year-old bank worker Chiu Ho-chun and 17-year-old student Lam Chin-to – to 26 months in jail and correctional training of up to nine months, respectively, for their roles in the protest. Fong pleaded guilty to five charges, including taking part in an unlawful assembly, possessing items with intent to damage property, possessing prohibited weapons, resisting a police officer and unlicensed possession of radio communications apparatus. Chiu and Lam each pleaded guilty to taking part in an unlawful assembly, while Chiu was also sentenced on a charge of possessing items with intent to damage property. Prosecutors said the three were among a crowd of more than 100 black-clad protesters who gathered at the junction of Nathan Road and Shantung Street at around 10pm, setting up roadblocks and shining laser pointers at police. All three were arrested during a dispersal operation. The court will give very little or no weight to personal circumstances [in sentencing] … This is the approach that I must take District Court Judge Timothy Casewell Fong was seen holding a petrol bomb in his hand, before leaving it on the ground and fleeing. He then put up a fierce struggle with an officer, identified in court only as X, punching his face shield and attempting to push him away before being handcuffed. Police found three petrol bombs in the firefighter’s rucksack, as well as a flick knife, a hammer, a crowbar and a wireless transceiver, for which he did not have the required licence. Officers also seized two petrol bombs, two lighters and a bottle of alcohol from Chiu’s belongings. In mitigation, Fong’s lawyer said the firefighter had been widely praised by his colleagues for his devotion, bravery and professionalism. Such qualities were exemplified by his performance in a 2017 rescue operation on Kowloon Peak, after which he received a commendation from the Director of Fire Services. The lawyer urged the court to show lenience, allowing Fong to reunite with his wife and two children as soon as possible. However, Casewell said the illegal gathering that night was “serious public disorder” manifested in the form of road blockades and attacks against police, adding Fong’s possession of petrol bombs heightened the risk of casualties and damage. “The possession of these items represents a major escalation of risks, and a major escalation of danger to others,” he said. “The court will give very little or no weight to personal circumstances [in sentencing] … This is the approach that I must take.” The judge also dismissed a plea by Lam’s lawyer to spare the teen a custodial sentence, saying probation or community service would be “too lenient”. A spokesman for the Fire Services Department said it attached utmost importance to the discipline and conduct of its members, adding it would “take resolute actions” if one was guilty of misconduct.