Hong Kong court sentences accountant involved in Yuen Long mob attack to 33 months prison News
Iris Tong, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Hong Kong court sentences accountant involved in Yuen Long mob attack to 33 months prison

The District Court of Hong Kong sentenced Hong Kong accountant Jacky Ho Tsan-kei on Wednesday to 33 months in prison on rioting charges. This is the first time an individual not a part of the white-shirted group that conducted the Yuen Long mob attack on July 21, 2019 has been sentenced in connection with the events. The 2019 Yuen Long mob attack occurred in the broader context of the 2019 Hong Kong protests.

Ho was convicted of rioting on April 5 by District Judge Clement Lee Hing-nin over throwing items at the white-shirted group and shielding himself and others dressed in black with an umbrella on July 21, 2019 at the Yuen Long train station. According to prosecutors, the riot lasted for 10 to 20 minutes and involved around 100 individuals.

Ho claimed that he went to the train station out of curiosity after viewing videos of the white-shirted group attacking train passengers. He said that he acted in self-defense to prevent criminal activity. While Lee said that the white-shirted group engaged in greater violence than the non-white-shirted group which Ho was part of, Lee suggested that the non-white-shirted group acted immorally by responding with violence. Lee also said that Ho was a rioter who displayed an intention to participate in the riot as he remained at the scene, although he had sufficient opportunities to leave.

Lee initially decided on a three-year sentence for Ho by finding that Ho engaged in a low degree of violence. He later mitigated Ho’s sentence by three months in light of his good background and the delay in his prosecution. Lee said that he believed that Ho had reflected and learned from this incident. Ho has been in custody since he was found guilty on April 5.

Former lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting and six other individuals, who were not part of the white-shirted group, have also been charged with rioting over their roles in the attack on July 21, 2019. Whereas 14 individuals that belonged to the white-shirted group were found guilty of rioting by February.

The 2019 Hong Kong protests broke out over a now-withdrawn extradition bill that proposed to allow fugitives to be transferred from Hong Kong to jurisdictions that lack an extradition deal with Hong Kong, such as mainland China and Macau. The bill was withdrawn by former Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on September 4, 2019 after a series of mass protests.

Previously, on March 17, the District Court of Hong Kong jailed 12 activists over rioting with sentences ranging from 54 to 82 months. Judge Li Zhihao said that the case was particularly serious as the activists intended to destroy the Legislative Council Complex to insult and provoke the government. The incident also triggered a series of protests in the following months.