Billy Fung Jing-en, the former president of the student union at the University of Hong Kong, has admitted to charges of criminal damage and attempted forcible entry in connection with a protest in which students barged into a meeting of the HKU governing council on Jan. 26.
In a hearing at the Eastern Court on Thursday, Fung, 22, pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal intimidation and disorderly conduct in a public place, but admitted that he requested access into the building as a member of the council that night in order to collect his personal belongings, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
As the security guards opened the door, he stuck his left foot at the door gap and shouted at the crowd behind him to ask if anyone wanted to see council chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, the court heard.
Several protesters came and attempted to pull the glass door open.
Security guards were able to close the door with the assistance of police officers, but the door frame was deformed in the process and it was reported that the cost of fixing it was HK$458.13.
Li testified in court that he had heard Fung shouting at the other students: “Don’t let Li Kwok-cheung go” and “Take him down.”
Shortly thereafter he felt that someone grabbed his shoulder and arms.
Li said it was the first time he experienced being handled that way and he felt “very scared” because he thought his life was under threat.
He pointed to Fung as the one who instigated the other students to attack him.
Li said the students involved in the commotion were emotional and rough.
If someone fell down during the chaos, there could be casualties as a result of the stampede, he said.
In view of the safety risks, Li and the other council members decided to return to the building, before eventually leaving through the back door, Ming Pao Daily reported.
During the hearing, Colman Li Fung-kei, former external vice president of the student union, denied charges of “obstructing public officers in the execution of their duties”.
The trial continues on Friday.
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