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Seven jailed over 2019 Yuen Long mob attacks

2021-07-22 HKT 11:42
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  • Seven jailed over 2019 Yuen Long mob attacks
The District Court on Thursday jailed seven people for their roles in the indiscriminate mob attacks on people in Yuen Long on July 21, 2019.

Tang Wai-sum, who gave orders for others to beat people up, was jailed for seven years.

Wong Ying-kit, Ng Wai-nam, Tang Ying-bun and Choi Lap-ki, who encouraged the violence or attacked people themselves, were put behind bars for between three-and-a-half and six years.

They were convicted last month of wounding and rioting.

Lam Koon-leung and Lam Kai-ming, who earlier pleaded guilty to rioting, were both sentenced to four years and eight months in prison.

The court had been told that the defendants were among groups of people who, using items including rattan and wooden sticks, assaulted people in Yuen Long MTR Station, the YOHO Mall, and Ying Lung Wai on the night in question.

In passing sentence, judge Eddie Yip noted that at the Yuen Long MTR station, white-clad attackers had charged towards black-clad people and others – who then went back to the platform and into a train.

But the train did not start moving, and its doors remained open.

There were no police officers, the judge noted, and the public announcement inside the train asked passengers to leave the MTR station.

Yip added the passengers had to shield themselves with umbrellas, and brave young people stood at the front to bear the brunt of the attack with their bodies.

The judge also noted the white-clad men claimed they were “protecting their home”, and had sidelined the police when they armed themselves with wooden and rattan sticks and attacked the public.

The victims were trapped inside train compartments and they dared not leave, Yip said, adding that this amounted to false imprisonment.

Hong Kong is a society with rule of law, therefore such acts that caused great fear among the public call for heavy sentences, he said.

The judge also rejected one defendant’s claim that people were free to leave the concourse of the station, noting that journalists and some prosecution witnesses had been beaten up after exiting through the station’s gates, and were trapped inside the concourse by the white-clad men.

The judge said he had taken into consideration factors including the degree of violence used, whether the acts were premeditated, and whether weapons were used, as well as the duration of the attack and the injuries suffered by the victims.

The sentences prompted angry outbursts in the courtroom from the defendants' supporters, who shouted abuse aimed at the judge and exclaimed that the prison terms were unfair.

The Department of Justice has lodged an appeal against the acquittal of one defendant in the case, Wong Chi-wing, who was cleared of rioting and wounding with intent.

The police came in for heavy criticism for their slow response to the Yuen Long attacks, despite the emergency 999 hotline being flooded with calls. Officers only arrived at the scene after the mob had dispersed.

The force later described the violence as a fight between two evenly matched sides, and said it should not be characterised as an indiscriminate attack.

Last updated: 2021-07-22 HKT 14:09