Hong Kong court sentences three student offenders up to 6 years prison News
© WikiMedia (Shuim Wiang Yamio)
Hong Kong court sentences three student offenders up to 6 years prison

The Hong Kong High Court sentenced two offenders on Thursday to six years for conspiracy to cause explosion and conspiracy to commit terrorist activities respectively, local media the Witness reported. The court jailed another defendant, who was serving her sentence for another conviction of subversion, for 30 months. The prosecution dropped the charge against the first defendant. The three defendants are currently at the age of 17, 21 and 23, respectively.

The prosecution jointly charged seven activists from a pro-independence group “Returning Valiant” for conspiracy to commit terrorist activities under the National Security Law, or alternatively conspiracy to cause explosion under Crimes Ordinance. The prosecution’s case is that the defendants jointly planned to cause explosions targeting court buildings with a plan of damaging Hong Kong’s stability.

Judge Alex Lee reasoned that Cheung was a university student at the time of the commission of the offense and therefore should have known better than other offenders who were only secondary school students. Cheung’s role in the conspiracy was to recruit more members and provide information about the production of explosive TATP. As a prosecution witness originally, Cheung provided misleading information and therefore afforded no other commutation than the one-third commutation resulting from his timely guilty plea. As a result, Cheung received a final sentence of six years.

As for another defendant Ho, Judge Alex Lee held that Ho was the mastermind of the whole conspiracy who planned to target court buildings. The plan neglected the safety of public members in the buildings. Therefore, the starting point of sentencing was ten years. Considering that he was helpful for the prosecution’s case against Cheung, Judge Alex Lee granted him a commutation of four years, resulting in a final sentence of six years.

Lastly, Judge Alex Lee opined that the last defendant Kwok’s role was limited to introducing Ho and Cheung to each other without participating in the planning. Hence, the starting point for her sentencing was five and a half years. However, Judge Alex Lee considered that had this case been considered together with another subversion case Kwok was in, her sentencing would have been considered jointly as a whole. Consequently, Judge Alex Lee cancelled Kwok’s detention order pursuant to her subversion conviction and sentenced her to 30 months.

Relatedly, in May, one of the other four defendants was sentenced to five years and eight month’s imprisonment. The remaining were sent to training centers. All convicted defendants in this case were between the ages of 17 and 23 at the time of sentencing. After the sentencing hearing in May, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani called upon the Hong Kong government to comply with the Convention of the Rights of the Child. That convention states that “the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.”