A Hong Kong court on Monday sentenced two men to three years in prison in connection with clashes between protesters and police in Mong Kok in February 2016.
District Court Judge Frankie Yiu said the level of violence shown by defendants Law Ho-yin, 21, and Lin Yun-faat, 26, was moderate, Apple Daily reports.
The judge considered the sentence proper despite the defense lawyers’ request for leniency, although he said there was no evidence that the defendants’ acts were premeditated.
Yiu cited video evidence showing Law and Lin standing in front of the protesters with glass bottles in their hands and throwing bricks at police officers. They confessed to the offense in their testimony.
Two other defendants were acquitted while a 19-year-old man, surnamed Yung, was sent to a training center.
The court heard that Yung had shown deviant behavior as a result of a chronic illness since childhood. A probation officer also recommended that Yung be sent to a training facility to give him a chance to correct himself.
After the sentences were announced, many who observed the proceedings shouted their support for the defendants, news website hk01.com reported.
On Feb. 8, the first day of the Lunar New Year in 2016, protesters fought off officers from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department who tried to evict street hawkers from Portland Street.
The incident turned into violent clashes between the protesters and the police, prompting officials to describe it as a riot.
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