Prosecutors detail the unrest five accused allegedly caused during the explosive Mong Kok riot in 2016
Well-known pro-independence activist Edward Leung and four others are facing a host of charges, including one count of inciting others to riot during the Lunar New Year two years ago
As Hong Kong prosecutors wrapped up their opening statement for a high-profile riot trial on Thursday, their allegations against five men – including one well-known pro-independence activist – gave a vivid picture of the violent unrest that unfolded in Mong Kok two years ago.
While the city celebrated the Lunar New Year, a crowd clashed with police on February 8, 2016, and the mayhem stretched into the night, only ending the next morning and obstructing Argyle Street, Fa Yuen Street, Portland Street, and Shan Tung Street in the process.
Prosecutors accused Edward Leung Tin-kei, formerly of the pro-independence Hong Kong Indigenous group, together with his colleague Ray Wong Toi-yeung, of inciting a sizeable crowd at Portland Street. Wong is not a defendant in this case.
Instead, Leung and four others are facing a host of charges related to the incident, which spilled over to other streets, with bricks, rubbish bins and glass bottles being launched as missiles to target police officers.
Some streets were also set on fire, the prosecutors said.
Here are their detailed allegations against each defendant:
Prosecutors accuse Hong Kong activist Edward Leung of inciting crowd on first day of Mong Kok riot trial
Edward Leung Tin-kei
Charges: Leung denied two counts of rioting and one of inciting others to riot. He admitted to one count of assaulting a police officer.
Allegations: In the early hours of the stand-off at Portland Street, Leung allegedly incited the crowd using a megaphone. As police intended to clear the street, he told the large crowd that they were not Hongkongers if they found it acceptable that officers from “public security” and the “urban management force” – two security departments from the mainland – could remove them from the streets whenever they wanted to.
“If you are a Hongkonger, let’s protect our city and our culture,” Leung told them.
Prosecutor Eric Kwok Tung-ming SC argued that Leung committed the incitement charge in a joint enterprise with Wong, the men “complementing each other” when they provoked the crowd that night.
The prosecutor also played a video that he said showed Leung being part of a group to hurl a rubbish bin in the direction of police officers on Argyle Street. He then assaulted a police officer. Another officer had to fire a warning shot into the sky.
Charges: Lee denied one count of rioting.
Allegations: Lee, clad in black hoodie and a surgical mask, hurled verbal abuse at police officers during the stand-off at Portland Street. Kwok described his speeches as “outlandish”. When Wong incited the crowd, the prosecutor added, Lee responded positively. Lee was arrested during the incident.
Charges: Lo denied one count of rioting.
Allegations: Nicknamed “Bright”, Lo wore a black cap on the night and wrapped a piece of black cloth around his mouth. During the stand-off at Portland Street, he threw objects in the direction of police on more than 10 occasions, the prosecutor said.
As he returned to the same street later that night, he was captured on news footage picking up objects from the floor to throw at police officers.
Charges: Lam denied one count of rioting and one count of taking part in an unlawful assembly.
Allegations: The prosecutor said police officers recognised Lam because of the “outstanding” outfit he wore on the night – a pair of grey pants that had a pattern of sea waves.
During the stand-off at Portland Street, Kwok said, Lam tried to obstruct police officers when they attempted to bring in a movable stand to broadcast their messages more effectively and urge the crowd to leave.
The man was also seen talking to people from Wong and Leung’s group, Hong Kong Indigenous, as he stood at the front of the crowd, Kwok said.
Lam was arrested on March 4, a month after the riot. A search of his home turned up the pants and cap he wore on the night, the prosecutor said.
Charges: Lam denied three counts of rioting.
Allegations: Lam’s first appearance was during the stand-off at Portland Street as caught on camera, according to Kwok. He was later captured throwing objects on Argyle Street, and later, bricks at Shan Tung Street, the prosecutor said.
During a later stand-off at Fa Yuen Street after sunrise, Lam was spotted hitting a road sign pole with a brick, Kwok said.
He was not immediately taken into custody but was arrested a month later on the same day when Lam Ngo-hin was arrested. A staff member from the government's Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration identified him from the news and called the police. Kwok said he had made certain admissions during interviews with the police.