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Mong Kok riot

Bricks thrown, officers attacked and a warning shot fired in video clips shown in Hong Kong court on second day of riot trial

Prosecutor describes ‘frantic attack against unequipped officers’ as he continues allegations against localist Edward Leung

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 1:10pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 February, 2018, 3:15pm

Chaotic scenes of hurled bricks, unarmed policemen being attacked and a warning gun shot fired into the sky were relived on Thursday, as prosecutors recounted the mayhem of the Mong Kok riot two years ago.

At first,rioters punched and kicked police officers and threw rubbish bins and large crates at them, Eric Kwok Tung-ming SC told the High Court on the second day of his opening remarks.

But the situation deteriorated further in the early hours of February 9, 2016, according to videos played in court, as rioters who had dispersed down a side street wielded bamboo sticks and hurled bricks at the officers.

Another video showed streets on fire, while a third, shot from the perspective of police, captured someone saying “defeat these rioters”.

“I would call it a frantic attack against unequipped officers,” Kwok said.

Localist Edward Leung Tin-kei has denied one count of inciting others to riot. The former student activist also pleaded not guilty to two further counts of rioting, but admitted to one count of assaulting a police officer during the incident. 

He has been remanded following his guilty plea last month.

Four co-defendants – Lee Nok-man, Lo Kin-man, Lam Ngo-hin and Lam Lun-hing – pleaded not guilty to a range of other charges including rioting and taking part in an unlawful assembly.

Prosecutors alleged the riot began on the night of February 8 and carried on into the next day, covering Portland Street, Shantung Street, Argyle Street and Fa Yuen Street.

Kwok continued to lay down allegations on Thursday, a day after he accused Leung and fellow activist Ray Wong Toi-yeung – who is not a defendant in this trial – of inciting the crowd at Portland Street just before 2am on February 9. He told a panel of nine jurors that they would be presented with injury reports on 13 police officers.

While unequipped officers battled rioters on Argyle Street, others with helmets and shields tackled violence on the neighbouring Portland Street, Kwok said.

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A news clip from the scene at 2am showed about six traffic officers being attacked by a crowd on Argyle Street. One officer fell on the ground while the attack on him continued.

Leung was captured launching a rubbish bin into the air before he went on to attack a police officer with a wooden board. He did not dispute his presence on the night, Kwok said.

Another officer was shown firing a shot into the sky before pointing his gun at the crowd on Argyle Street.

The crowd moved to Nathan Road, a major thoroughfare, while police officers tried to force them onto the smaller Shantung Street nearby, Kwok said. From there, the crowd gathered further weaponry in the form of bamboo sticks and bricks as the riot continued.

The flying bricks and jabbing with sticks took place at 4am, as captured in other videos. Kwok said one of the clips was shaky, as the officer who filmed the incident had to dodge about for his safety.

The unrest was still continuing at 6am as the protesters and police officers were locked in a stand-off on Soy Street, and were separated by a burning rubbish bin.

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The noise of the protesters hitting metal fences with bricks was caught on camera. The protesters hurled bricks at the police again when the officers rushed towards them.

Kwok told the jury that after viewing all the evidence, it would “not be difficult” for them to conclude that riots and an illegal assembly took place that night.

The case continues on Friday before Ms Justice Anthea Pang Po-kam.