A Hong Kong retiree was fined HK$3,000 and put on a one-year good behaviour bond for assaulting a clerk with a folded national flag during rival rallies last year over government plans to build new towns in the northeastern New Territories. Passing sentence, Eastern Court Magistrate Lee Siu-ho said the violence used by retiree Ngai Che-wing, 62, was “inappropriate and unnecessary”. Lee also ordered Ngai to compensate victim Chik Wai-yee, 38, HK$150 for medical expenses. Ngai had previously pleaded not guilty to one count of common assault. The court heard that Chik was filming the protest staged by a pro-establishment group, of which Ngai was a member, near Citic Tower on Tim Mei Avenue on June 20 last year. Ngai attacked Chik with a flag, leaving a 1cm abrasion on his finger. Lee stressed that Hong Kong people, including journalists, had every right to film protests. "The protest was staged in a public area. And it was normal that members of the public would be curious about the messages you were conveying," Lee added. He believed that Ngai committed the crime because he was angered by Chik’s acts. But Lee said: “It is legal to express views peacefully, while it is illegal to treat others violently.” He urged protesters to remain calm and not to use violence even when they were filmed by others. Outside court, Ngai said that he would consider an appeal after seeking legal advice. Insisting that he did not attack Chik, Ngai said he would continue to participate in protests to air his opinions.