The District Court on Friday sentenced seven policemen to two years in prison for assaulting pro-democracy activist Ken Tsang during the 2014 Occupy protests.
One of the seven officers, Detective Constable Chan Siu-tan, received an extra one month in prison for slapping Tsang twice at Central police station. It will be served concurrently.
Judge David Dufton said imprisonment was appropriate because "the defendants have not only brought dishonour to the Hong Kong Police Force, they have also damaged Hong Kong’s reputation in the international community, the assault having been widely viewed around the world and reported as front-page news in a number of countries."
Before sentencing, defence counsels said they had received more than a thousand letters pleading for leniency for the seven.
They had drawn attention to the officers' long and distinguished careers and the unique circumstances of the civil disobedience movement.
But Judge Dufton said that even though all officers were under immense stress, there was no justification for the assault on the social worker.
"The defendants, serving police officers who in the execution of their duty took Tsang to the substation to assault him; the multiplicity of the injuries sustained by Tsang as a result of the assault; and the damage to Hong Kong’s reputation make this, in my view, a very serious case," the judge said.
He said the assault on Tsang was vicious and it was fortunate he did not suffer more serious injuries.
Meanwhile, Senior Counsel Lawrence Lok, who represented chief inspector Wong Cho-sing, said his client will definitely appeal against the conviction.
Lok said he will seriously consider whether to also lodge an appeal against the sentence.
The seven policemen were found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm when they kicked and punched him in a dimly lit corner of Tamar Park in the early hours of October 15, 2014.
The attack left the former Civic Party member with injuries to his face, neck, chest and back. However, the judge also said the injuries did not amount to grievous bodily harm.
Last updated: 2017-02-17 HKT 11:37