The District Court on Friday convicted 11 people of rioting in Wong Tai Sin on October 1, 2019 – including a first aid worker. One defendant was acquitted.
The court heard that hundreds of black-clad protesters had gathered at Lung Cheung Road on that day, defying a police ban on a rally there.
Judge Edmond Lee concluded no innocent person would have been at the scene, which he said resembled a “mini battleground”, as protesters had thrown bricks and petrol bombs at police.
Ten of the defendants had been subdued near a makeshift roadblock, which the judge described as a stronghold set up by protesters.
He said even if the defendants had not committed any radical acts, their presence alone would have encouraged and facilitated the riot.
Judge Lee further said the defendants couldn’t have been just passersby as they were found with protective gear such as goggles, gas masks and helmets.
One defendant who claimed to be a first-aid worker wasn’t let off the hook either, with the judge ruling that his presence had worked to ‘shield and support’ the protesters.
Treating the wounds of protesters could have increased their confidence, and allowed them to carry on with their radical acts for longer, he said.
The judge decided to acquit one defendant who he noted had been wearing different clothing than the other protesters. He also noted that police had found no protective equipment other than two surgical masks on her, and decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.
The 11 defendants, aged between 16 and 24 at the time of the offence, are scheduled to be sentenced on March 4.