Ex-soldier hurled entrails at media boss Jimmy Lai ‘to protect Hong Kong’, court hears
Restaurant owner under fire from judge over taking law into own hands
A restaurant owner on Monday argued at appeal that he had only thrown entrails at media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying because as a former soldier he had been ingrained with the mindset that he must safeguard the city.
But the claim, made by Yip Wing-chi at the High Court, was immediately refuted by Mrs Justice Judianna Barnes Wai-ling, who noted that Lai had not been found guilty of any law-breaking activity and no one should take the law into his own hands.
Yip said he had believed Lai had instigated an illegal movement with the Occupy pro-democracy protests.
“Please don’t tell me he was trying to stop other lawbreakers,” Barnes said. “Regardless of your political stance, you cannot be the law enforcer. Hong Kong is a society under the rule of law.”
Barnes was hearing the appeal of Yip, 44, and kitchen staff member Chan Kwok-hung, 31, along with businessman Li Siu-lung, 46, who were jailed for between nine and 18 weeks for a string of attacks on November 12, 2014.
The men had sought to overturn their sentences, with Li also mounting an additional challenge to his conviction. At issue was whether the jail terms were manifestly excessive – the threshold for which a sentence can be overturned.
Defence counsel Yeung Yeuk-chuen said his client Yip had brought the entrails with the intention of attacking his son who was at the Admiralty Occupy site instead of going on a grave sweeping trip for his deceased wife. But he impulsively switched target to Lai upon seeing him because he had learned from newspapers that he was a major organiser of the movement.
Yeung said Yip had been a soldier until June 30, 1997 before he opened a congee shop, and his formal training had taught him to safeguard Hong Kong.
“He’s a family man who loves his parents and children, loves the city and the country,” Yeung said. “He’s not a bad person.”
Another defence counsel, Kenneth Ho King-man, meanwhile argued Li should not have been implicated in the entrails attack when he only filmed the incident.
But Barnes pointed out that a person filming was equally as liable as a person carrying out such an attack under a joint enterprise.
Assistant director of public prosecutions Ned Lai Ka-yee further argued that the video recording was a “secondary assault” to prolong the victim’s humiliation, like ones used in sexual offences.
Lai also said the use of entrails brought a risk of infection as the decomposing substance broke through the plastic bag on impact.
Judgement in the case was reserved. Chan and Li had denied one count of common assault over the throwing of animal entrails, while Yip had pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Yip denied one other count of common assault on site marshal Alex Kwok Siu-kit, while Chan further denied two assault charges against Kwok and another on marshal Ricky Or Yiu-lam.
All charges saw convictions except for one against Chan, who was cleared of common assault over the entrails stunt as the court could not be sure he had common intent to assault Lai with Yip.