A former student leader has been detained ahead of sentencing after a judge convicted him of two charges in relation to the purchase of 10 laser pointers at a Hong Kong flea market during the 2019 social unrest . The District Court on Wednesday cleared Keith Fong Chung-yin of possessing offensive weapons in a public place on August 6 that year, citing a lack of evidence that showed he had intended to injure police officers by keeping the devices. But the 23-year-old former president of Baptist University’s student union was found guilty of resisting a police officer during his arrest, as well as perverting the course of public justice by reconfiguring his mobile phone with a view to impeding the investigation. The court heard in last December’s trial that Fong had bought the laser pointers for about HK$4,200 (US$538) from a hawker stall on Apliu Street in Sham Shui Po shortly before he was intercepted outside a nearby convenience store. He was arrested and sent to hospital following a struggle with police. When the student was alone with medical workers inside the emergency ward, he erased data from his iPhone before officers could seize it for evidence. Prosecutors said that by the time of the incident, six officers had been injured by laser beams in the execution of their duties since the anti-government protests started in June 2019. Hong Kong protests: prosecutors dispute stargazing claim of laser pen accused In Wednesday’s verdict, Judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong rejected Fong’s assertion that he had bought the laser pointers for stargazing and held that he must have intended or expected them to be used as part of protests. He found insufficient grounds, however, to conclude the student had treated them as weapons against police at the time of the purchase. Not only were there no protests in the neighbourhood, but investigators had also found no battery compatible with laser devices at Fong’s residence. “The most probable scenario was that the defendant bought the laser pointers for him and his peers to use in protests, while being reckless as to whether they would be used to injure others,” Yau said. “However, in the presence of both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, I cannot make a conclusion that would put the defendant at a disadvantage.” Nonetheless, Yau found that the procurement of the devices was “meticulously planned and calculated”, as shown in Fong’s deliberate decision to buy the laser pointers and batteries separately to avoid being charged with possession of weapons. The judge held that Fong’s interception was lawful given his “very suspicious” behaviour, and the student had no basis to question the identity of the arresting officer. The 23-year-old’s repeated request for proof of identity, Yau said, was merely an attempt to obstruct the police inquiry and complicate the matter. Hong Kong student arrested over laser pointers faces up to 7 years in prison “The video evidence showed the defendant appeared more composed than the police at the scene, going tit-for-tat with officers and knowing how to take advantage of onlookers’ ill feeling towards them to protect himself,” the judge noted. Yau further ruled that Fong had reset his mobile phone knowing that it would be an essential piece of evidence in his inevitable prosecution. Senior counsel Ching Y. Wong, Fong’s legal representative, asked the court to extend his client’s bail until sentencing, citing the latest coronavirus outbreak at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre which is used to incarcerate male suspects. But Yau said that whether Fong would spend time at that facility was purely an administrative decision irrelevant to the court’s consideration. He adjourned the sentence to March 3 pending the defendant’s background report. Fong faces up to seven years in jail.