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Hong Kong courts

Hong Kong pro-democracy veteran ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung acquitted of assault

Alleged victim insists his right leg was injured when Leung kicked it, despite a hospital report focusing on his left

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 6:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 11:14pm

Veteran pro-democracy activist “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung was on Friday acquitted of assaulting a political opponent at Hong Kong’s legislature last year.

The prosecution failed because the alleged victim, a pro-Beijing activist, said his right leg had been injured when Leung kicked it, despite a hospital report focusing on his left.

Leung, a former legislator, stood accused of kicking Lau Pit-chuen when a ruckus broke out between pro-establishment and pro-democracy protesters at the Legislative Council on April 12 last year.

Lau, 72, was among a large group protesting against pan-democrats’ filibustering, when he claimed Leung kicked him in the ankle.

But on Friday, Eastern Court magistrate Li Chi-ho ruled the elderly man’s account unreliable, clearing Leung, 62, of one count of common assault.

Li took issue with Lau’s insistence he was kicked in the right leg, despite photographs and a hospital report provided by the prosecution focusing on his left.

During the trial, Lau was given the chance to rethink his answer, the magistrate said, though Lau reiterated his right ankle was in pain for at least two days following the alleged assault.

“I found it really bizarre,” the magistrate said. He concluded that prosecutors had failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.

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Li had said that while he was provided with video footage of the day, it failed to capture what happened.

Outside court, Leung, who was booted from the legislature last year for taking an invalid oath, said: “There has been a continuation of political prosecutions.”

“I don’t think I have been well treated or fairly treated,” he added, saying that he was only at the scene that day to fulfil his legislator’s duty to listen to different voices.

It was not the first time in court for Leung, who faces prosecution from time to time. That was also the case for Lau, who was found guilty in December of taking part in an unlawful assembly. He had been among a group of protesters some of whom attacked Nathan Law Kwun-chung, another ousted lawmaker, during a protest at Hong Kong International Airport in January last year.