(Almost) final overview of prosecutions related to Mong Kok police-protester clashes of February 2016

37 prosecuted; 27 convicted and sentenced to a total of 77 years, 2 months and 21 days in prison

For background see: “Justice it ain’t: The Mong Kok ‘riot’ trials

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Yung Wai-yip holding a sign as he leaves court in a police van on his way to prison. The sign reads, “Go, HK!” a popular chant at pro-democracy demonstrations and an expression of his love for the city. Together with Yuen Chi-kai, he was the last ‘rioter’ to be sentenced on 10 May 2019.

On May 9, 2019, Yung Wai-yip and Yuen Chi-kai were sentenced to three years in prison each for their involvement in the clashes between police and protesters that occurred in the Mong Kok area of Hong Kong on the night of February 8 to 9, 2016. With their sentencing, the nearly three years of trials related to that event have concluded, almost: In January 2019, information emerged that the Hong Kong government has belatedly decided to prosecute three more people in relation to the clashes. (In Hong Kong, there is no statute of limitations on prosecution for crimes unless otherwise specified in individual statutes.) In addition, some defendants are appealing, so there may still be some changes to the overall results, but this is an appropriate moment to provide a full and (almost) final overview of the trials.

Initially, 90 people were arrested and 51 charged with crimes. Charges were dropped against 20 due to lack of evidence. 12 were later arrested and/or charged with additional counts. In all, the Hong Kong Department of Justice intended to prosecute 43 people.

The trials of 37 of those 43 have now finished. 27 were convicted on 28 counts. (27 for ‘riot’, 2 for arson, 6 for assaulting an officer, 1 for disorderly conduct, 1 for resisting arrest, 1 for criminal damage.) 10 were acquitted on 15 counts. (9 for ‘riot’, 3 for assaulting officer, 1 for unlawful assembly, 1 for inciting riot, 1 for inciting unlawful assembly.)

3 of the 40 absconded. Arrest warrants have issued been issued for them. One apparently went to Taiwan, one to Germany, and one is unknown.

3 were indicted in January 2019 and no additional information has emerged as to when their trials will begin.

The 27 convicts were sentenced to a total of 77 years, 2 months and 21 days in prison. Their sentences range in length from 21 days to 7 years. The longest sentences were given to Ken Lo-man (7 years for 1 count of ‘riot’) and Edward Leung (6 years for 1 count of ‘riot” and 1 count of assaulting a police officer). Other ‘riot’ sentences range from 2 years 4 months to 4 years 9 months, with 3 years being the most common sentence.

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Author of ‘Umbrella: A Political Tale from Hong Kong’ and ‘As long as there is resistance, there is hope: Essays on the Hong Kong freedom struggle…’

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