Hong Kong schoolboy admits role in gang assault on classmate accused of 'supporting government' during civil unrest

A handout photo. A Hong Kong schoolboy pleaded guilty to assault.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

A Hong Kong schoolboy has pleaded guilty to assaulting a classmate he accused of “supporting the government” during last year’s civil unrest.

The 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was the second to plead guilty over the assault of another 15-year-old boy at a secondary school in Shau Kei Wan on Nov 20, an incident that saw five pupils arrested.

The victim was surrounded by 20 classmates who accused him of siding with authorities over the anti-government protests. The gang hurled plastic bottles, rattan canes and hockey balls at the boy, hitting his right leg in the process. The attack only ended when teachers arrived.

Police arrested three boys on suspicion of throwing objects at the victim, and two girls on suspicion of helping them. The five faced a joint count of common assault at Eastern Court.

One of the boys, 16, pleaded guilty last month and will be sentenced next Tuesday, pending assessments on his suitability to be put on probation or sentenced to community service.

Sentencing of the boy who pleaded guilty on Wednesday was adjourned to Nov 10 for the same reasons.

Three others, including a 14-year-old boy, and two girls, aged 14 and 15, denied committing the offence on Wednesday. They will stand trial at the same court on Feb 17.

Separately, two university students were jailed for nine and 10 months for possessing weapons in anti-government protests stemming from the unrest.

Final-year student Ng Yui-hong, 22, was handed the heftier sentence after he pleaded guilty to possessing offensive weapons at a January protest, as well as possessing items with intent to destroy property at another demonstration in May.

Ng, who studies maths and computer science at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, was first detained in Sheung Shui on Jan 5, and was arrested for a second time – while he was on court bail – in Causeway Bay on May 27.

On the second occasion he was found carrying more than one litre of paint thinner, two screwdrivers, a lighter, blowtorch, knife, hammer, spanner and a pair of forceps.

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Magistrate Peony Wong Nga-yan said while Ng was a first-time offender, a suspended sentence was “not a suitable option”.

“Immediate imprisonment is inevitable,” she said.

In the other case, Polytechnic University student Chan Ching-fung, 18, was jailed for nine months for possessing a folding knife and glass breaker during a protest in Mong Kok on December 9 last year.

He was convicted of possessing offensive weapons in a public place, and possessing instruments with intent to use them for unlawful purposes.

Meanwhile, a 14-year-old boy on Wednesday was bound over by the same court for carrying two bottles of spray paint to an anti-government rally in Wan Chai on November 2 last year.

He was held on a HK$500 (S$88) bond for a year after pleading guilty to possessing items with intent to damage property.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.