Veteran activist Koo Sze-yiu was sentenced to four months in prison on Thursday after being convicted of desecrating the national flag.
Koo, 74, was accused of displaying a tainted national flag when he showed up outside court in July last year in support of pro-democracy activists, including media tycoon Jimmy Lai and 14 others charged with protest-related offences.
West Kowloon Magistracy had heard that Koo held the flag – which was marked with words such as “white terror” and “fascist terror” – upside down.
Magistrate May Chung said the national flag is a symbol of the country, and it represents a country’s dignity, unity, and integrity.
She said even though Koo had known that there were reporters and people of different political views at the scene, he continued to present the tainted flag upside down to the crowd.
Chung said Koo had clearly intended to publicly insult the national flag.
Chung added that Koo had deliberately and publicly shown the upturned and tainted flag to reporters for 20 minutes. She said his actions could have incited other people to commit other offences, or lead to conflicts between people with different political views.
The magistrate decided to reduce Koo’s prison term by one month, after taking into account his ill health.
The veteran activist has stage four colorectal cancer.
He had told the court not to pity him or be lenient with him, saying he also wouldn’t show mercy to the mainland regime.