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Mong Kok riot

Jobless Hong Kong man first to plead guilty over rioting in Mong Kok clash

Ng Ting-kai was granted bail as he needed more time to treat his autism before facing punishment, according to his lawyer

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 June, 2017, 10:10pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 June, 2017, 11:27pm

An unemployed Hong Kong man on Friday became the first person to plead guilty to a rioting charge over violent clashes between protesters and police in Mong Kok last year.

Ng Ting-kai admitted to taking part in the riot, during which he threw bricks three times, permanently fracturing a policewoman’s hand.

He was one of 10 defendants whose trial began on Thursday, accused of joining the violence as large crowds fought running battles with police on the streets of the popular shopping district following a dispute over government control on hawkers at the start of the Lunar New Year.

Five deny riot charges over Hong Kong Lunar New Year violence

He denied another charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, which was left on court record.

Sentencing was adjourned until July 12, when the trial of the other nine defendants is due to finish.

Four other protesters who denied rioting charges were convicted earlier in separate cases.

Ng, who had no prior convictions, was granted bail on condition that he remained in Hong Kong after defence counsel Bernard Chung said his client needed more time to treat his autism before facing punishment.

“He’s prepared to face the consequences,” Chung said.

In a blue and grey suit, the bespectacled defendant kept his head low as deputy director of public prosecutions David Leung Cheuk-yin SC told the West Kowloon Court how Ng joined others at Nathan Road to chase after officers and throw bricks at them on February 9.

Four officers were injured, including a station sergeant who suffered bone fractures in her right hand, leaving her with 1.5 per cent permanent disability. She was granted 360 days of sick leave.

Another police constable briefly lost consciousness at the scene and suffered from a broken front tooth.

Also on Friday, prosecutor Leung opened his case against the other nine defendants, taking District Court Judge Kwok Wai-kin through maps of Mong Kok to place their 11 alleged offences.

Videos played in court showed police retreating with shields while protesters rushed towards them, picking up objects from the ground and hurling them at officers.

One clip showed protesters beating up officers cornered against a wall. Another showed protesters throwing bamboo sticks and rubbish bins at a police car moving slowly along Nathan Road.

No repeat of last year’s riot as street food hawkers serve up party atmosphere in Mong Kok

Footage also showed a plainclothes officer with a bleeding forehead crouching next to a collapsed man, while a uniformed colleague tried to protect them with a small shield.

Prosecutors said the case involved at least 47 injured officers, nearly two-thirds of whom reported being hit by bricks. Four of the nine defendants were arrested on site.

Prosecutors are expected to call 70 witnesses from a list of 207.

Waiter Mo Jia-tao, 18, earlier admitted to assaulting police but pleaded not guilty to three counts of rioting and one of criminal damage relating to a police car.

Cleaner Chung Chi-wah, 30, actor Anthony Ho Kam-sum, 37, waiter Fok Ting-ho, 23, logistics worker Tang King-chung, 27, electrician Lam Wing-wong, 21, renovation worker Yep Chi-fung, 17, as well as Chan Wo-cheung, 70, and Li Cheuk-hin, 19, who are both unemployed, each pleaded not guilty to one count of rioting.

Chan further denied assaulting police constable Pang Tak-ching.

None of the defendants live in Mong Kok.