A High Court judge ordered Edward Leung Tin-kei, former spokesman of the localist group Hong Kong Indigenous, to be remanded in custody after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer during the Mong Kok clashes in 2016, Apple Daily reports.
Leung, who quit the group in December last year, was also charged with inciting a riot, participating in a riot, and unlawful assembly, but he denied them all.
One of the other five defendants who appeared in court along with Leung, Wong Ka-kui, admitted rioting but denied assaulting police officers. He was also remanded in custody.
The rest were released on bail pending trial.
The court heard that from the late hours of Feb. 8 to the early hours of Feb. 9, spanning the first and second day of the Lunar New Year in 2016, a group of people staged a protest after officers of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department tried to evict street hawkers from Portland Street. The crowd swelled as more people joined the protest.
During the demonstration, some people in the crowd engaged in violent clashes with the police, prompting officials to describe the event as a riot.
More than 100 people, including police officers and protesters, were injured in the clashes. A number of protesters were subsequently charged with rioting.
Dozens of people, some of whom wore T-shirts with the sign of Hong Kong Indigenous, piled trash bins, cardboards and traffic cones at the intersection of Argyle Street and Portland Street to block traffic.
When police officers arrived to remove the obstruction, protesters started throwing hard objects at them.
Leung, who wore a facial mask at the time, was seen in video clips taken by news outlets such as TVB News and i-Cable News throwing trash bins and plastic buckets at a police sergeant and subsequently kicking him and hitting him with a cardboard. He was arrested on the spot.
The court was set to deal with pre-trial legal issues on Tuesday.
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