A Hong Kong judge on Tuesday handed down three-and-a-half-month jail terms to three young men for storming the Legislative Council headquarters during last year’s Occupy protests, reconsidering a previous order for community service.
Eastern Court magistrate Bina Chainrai said she has decided to impose a stiffer sentence due to the violent nature of the defendants’ actions, Apple Daily reported.
Tai Chi-sing, 24, Cheung Chi-pong, 23, and Shek Ka-fai, 24, were previously ordered to perform 150 hours of community service, along with another person — a 19-year-old named Cheng Yeung — after they pleaded guilty.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) sought a judicial review on the sentence as the punishment was deemed inadequate.
Magistrate Chainrai said Tuesday that after revisiting news video footage of the rioting incident, she agreed that the nature of the crime was serious.
The defendants were among a group of people that charged the Legco building and caused damage to glass doors, windows and some other infrastructure on November 19 last year.
They were protesting after rumors spread online that lawmakers would discuss legislation to criminalize some online activities.
Repair costs from the damage was said to total HK$587,000.
The defendants’ lawyers said the four people were misled by rumors online that the Legco would pass the so-called “Article 23 for online communications” that night.
They were emotionally charged as they had been taking part in Occupy protests for a month at the time, sleeping on streets, the lawyers said.
Magistrate Chainrai said the violence used was worrisome and that such behavior should not be rationalized.
Hence, she decided to give a three-and-a-half-month jail term to Tai, Cheung and Shek. Cheng, meanwhile, will remain in custody as the court sought some reports on him before a sentencing.
Authorities are believed to have asked the court to issue a compensation order on the four defendants, but the court has rejected the request.
Cheng has already served 40 hours of social service, while the other three have completed 24 hours apiece.
Tai, Cheung and Shek were released on bail of HK$2,000 to HK$3,000, pending an appeal.
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