Four people convicted of rioting in Hong Kong during National Day protests in 2019 have been jailed for up to 56 months, with the presiding judge ruling that those at the scene who did nothing violent still shared the same culpability as active participants.
As reported in local media, one convict was slapped with 56 months sentence after he was caught on camera hurling objects at police and burning a banner on the street during the unrest in Hong Kong on 1st October in 2019.
The remaining three were also given jail sentences of 51 months and 53 months despite a lack of evidence showing they had committed any violent acts.The sentences were premised on the legal principle of “joint enterprise”, which was recently upheld by the Court of Appeal as a doctrine capable of indicting a wide range of suspects in a riot or unlawful assembly, Judge Ernest Michael Lin Kam-hung ruled in Wednesday’s hearing at the District Court.
One defendant with no criminal record, was handed a jail term of 53 months after the judge noted she remained adamant following her conviction, claiming she had only walked past the area and “unknowingly” became involved. The judge said a deterrent sentence was required to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future.
More than 200 protesters were said to have confronted police in the afternoon of October 1, more than three months into the anti-government protests that year. Ten people have been convicted after trial of rioting in cases stemming from the civil unrest in 2019, triggered by a now-withdrawn extradition bill. Twenty-one riot suspects have pleaded guilty without trial, while 25 defendants were acquitted after trial.