Three people who were found guilty of rioting during the Mong Kok clashes last year were on Friday handed three-year jail terms by a local court.
Announcing the sentencing, District Court judge Sham Siu-man said there is need for a deterrent sentence, to let others know that there are consequences for rioting, RTHK reports.
The jail terms on the three protesters, two men and one woman, came after the trio was convicted Thursday on rioting charges following demonstrations during the Lunar New Year period last year.
Hui Ka-ki, Mak Tsz-hei and Sit Tat-wing were accused of throwing items like glass bottles and bamboo poles at police officers in the early hours of Feb. 9, 2016.
The three, whose ages ranged from 20 to 33, were part of a group of people who staged a protest on a Mong Kok street after hygiene officers cracked down on unlicensed street hawkers in the area.
Defense lawyers had pleaded for a lenient sentence, saying the three did not commit the crime for any personal gain, but were protesting against what they thought was unfair government policy.
But judge Sham rejected the argument, saying “violence is violence” and that a stiff sentence is warranted.
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