HONG KONG - A 26-year-old construction worker, Shum Hiu-lun, was jailed for four years on Friday for rioting and common assault during an illegal protest outside the Hong Kong police headquarters in Wan Chai on June 26 last year.
It was the first conviction of rioting in connection with the months-long anti-government protests last year following a trial. Shum had earlier denied both charges, but pleaded guilty to one separate count of failing to surrender himself after skipping bail.
The District Court heard the defendant was seen punching police constable Cheung Kam-fuk during the riot as the officer was reporting for duty that night.
Judge Anthony Kwok said although Shum did not commit the crime for personal gain, his use of force amounted to a breach of the rule of law. “Violence is violence, which will not be altered by any alleged lofty ideals,” the judge said. He urged young people not to resort to violence for political ends.
A spokesman for the Commercial Crime Bureau said he hopes the sentencing will have a deterrent effect on would-be offenders, adding that while the police fully respect the right to assembly and free speech, people must act in a peaceful and law-abiding manner, and any illegal behavior will not be condoned.
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