Hong Kong courts convict 10 people of riot in 2019 anti-extradition bill protest News
Studio Incendo, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Hong Kong courts convict 10 people of riot in 2019 anti-extradition bill protest

Ten people were convicted by two different Hong Kong courts Wednesday for unrest that took place on November 18, 2019 during the anti-extradition bill amendment protest.

One case before Deputy District Judge Amy Chan involved four defendants, each with a count of riot. The first defendant also faced a charge of possession of offensive weapon in a public place. Chan stated that the main issue of the case is whether the defendants were rioters or innocent bystanders. All four defendants testified for their reasons for being at the crime scene. However, the judge did not accept their testimonies, stating that their reasons lacked intrinsic probability or were illogical. Based on the verdict of the count of riot and other circumstantial evidence, the judge further inferred that the intent of the first defendant possessing a laser pointer was to provoke the police despite the denial of possession by the first defendant.

Another case before District Judge Tse Ching Adriana Noelle involved nine defendants, of which three had pleaded guilty before trial. The remaining six defendants were convicted of riot on Wednesday. The court will handle the plea in mitigation in the coming September. The judge stated that she did not accept the testimonies from every defendant and defense witness because the judge believed that they were dishonest and unreliable. The three defendants who pleaded guilty before trial was sentenced to 45 months by the same judge in 2022.

These two cases involve unrest that took place in Yau Ma Tei, a district near the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). The unrest was organised by Hong Kong protesters on the Internet to “besiege Wei to rescue Zhao”—i.e. to distract the police from laying siege to protesters occupying PolyU. The Hong Kong Police Force has announced that the police have arrested 213 people for riot in a total of 17 cases. As of mid-July this year, there have been 141 convictions and 29 pending court judgments. Among those that were jailed, the length of sentencing is between 29 months and 64 months.