Hong Kong protests: student jailed for 10 months for attacking police officer with selfie stick

Brian Wong

A Hong Kong student has been jailed for 10 months for attacking a police officer with a selfie stick during last year’s social unrest.

Chan Yi-chun was sentenced at Eastern Court over three counts he committed in North Point on September 15, the day when tens of thousands of protesters rallied on Hong Kong Island against the now-withdrawn extradition bill, ignoring police objection.

The 19-year-old student at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education was one of five people cornered by officers at a back alley outside Seven Seas Commercial Centre at around 10.30pm that day, after police dispersed a crowd gathering on the nearby King’s Road.

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Chan, who did not take part in the procession, hit inspector Ma Chi-shing five times with a 46cm selfie stick after the officer tried to stop a trapped protester from escaping.

The Eastern Law Courts Building in Sai Wan Ho. Photo: Sam Tsang

The assault left the metal pole bent and broken, while Ma sprained his right ankle during the attack.

Chan suffered head injuries after a violent struggle with three officers who subdued him.

He was dubbed a hero by protesters after he was pictured attacking the inspector while wearing a shirt which bore the Chinese character Yue, leading supporters to compare his acts to Chinese folk hero Yue Fei, who was known for his high ethical standards.

He pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer and possessing an offensive weapon in a public place. Chan was further convicted of resisting an officer after a trial before magistrate Veronica Heung Shuk-han.

On Tuesday, defence lawyer Pauline Leung Po-lam urged the court to pass a lenient sentence on Chan, saying that he had acted on impulse, and that the inspector had not suffered permanent injuries.

Heung set a starting point of eight months’ jail for the first two counts and nine months’ jail for the third count. She ordered Chan to serve a total of 10 months behind bars to reflect the gravity of the offences.

Two officers attacked, tear gas fired and organiser arrested in rally chaos

Meanwhile, Heung granted an 18-year-old student, who was caught carrying a flick knife last year, conditional discharge, after he refused to undertake an 18-month probation as an alternative sentence.

But Ng Ming-yeung, who is repeating Form Five for the third time this academic year, will still have a criminal record for the offence he committed in Chai Wan on November 11, when protesters called for a citywide strike and disrupted traffic in multiple districts.

Earlier this month, he was convicted of possessing a prohibited weapon, after Heung rejected his lawyers’ assertion that he used the knife to start a fire instead of wounding others.

He was remanded for six days after the trial, before being granted temporary release by the High Court.

Street fights in North Point as protesters are pushed out of Causeway Bay

Pre-sentencing reports suggested Ng, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, be given either probation or a term in a correctional facility, so that he could receive regular psychiatric and psychological treatments.

However, defence lawyer Douglas Kwok King-hin said the remand was a punishment heavier than what Ng deserved in committing the offence, for which the penalty was often just a fine.

He urged the magistrate to order Ng’s unconditional discharge, a power listed under Section 36 of the Magistrates Ordinance which may be evoked under exceptional circumstances, adding that Ng might face retention for the third time if he failed to take the school exams on Thursday.

Heung ordered Ng to be bound over at HK$1,000 (US$130) for a year, during which he must not commit further weaponry offences.

“I wish you success in the exams. Please study hard,” the magistrate told the student after sentencing.

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