2020.04.06 Au Nok-hin convicted of 2 charges of assaulting officer and pushing an officer’s shield with a loudhailer
Protesters and the police clashed on 7th July 2019. Pro-democratic lawmaker Au Nok-hin (as he then was) was accused of using a loudhailer to push the shield of police constable Kwan Chi-ho. He is also accused of causing pain to superintendent Ko Chun-pong while talking to officers from the Police Public Relation Branch using a loudhailer. Au therefore faced two charges of assaulting a police officer. He was then tried before the Magistrate Leung Ka-kie in the Kowloon City Magistracy, after which he was found guilty of both charges. The case was adjourned until 24th April for sentencing while waiting for the Suitability Reports for Community Service Orders. Au was allowed to be bailed pending his sentence.
Au’s intent was malicious and the loudhailer’s sound was shrill loud, said the magistrate
Concerning the charge of assaulting Ko with the sound of a loudhailer, Leung pointed out that Ko repeatedly demanded Au not to put his loudhailer so close to him but Au did not comply. Ko also pushed the loudhailer away from him and said the loudhailer was about 27 inches away from him. Leung is satisfied that Ko’s action sufficiently expressed dissent to Au yelling at him at close distance. As Ko demanded Au to stop yelling, Au responded that “Why can’t I speak up? I have the right to do so.” This proved Au’s malice and that the sound of the loudhailer was shrill, which could make people uncomfortable after hearing it for some time. Leung is also satisfied that prosecutors have eliminated the possibility of Ko’s other duties causing him discomfort in his ears. Therefore she found Au guilty of assaulting Ko with a loudhailer.
Concerning the charge of assaulting Kwan, Leung pointed out that according to the testimony, Au scolded Kwan “Yi Jin Jai”* and used a microphone to hit his shield forcefully 3 times. Kwan said, “I was scared to some extent because he is a lawmaker. I cannot imagine that he charged at the police defense line.” He said he was scared out of his wits and therefore gripped his shield tight. Leung is satisfied that Kwan’s behavior sufficiently showed Au’s behavior made him worried about Au using illegal force against him. Leung further pointed out that Au’s action of scolding Kwan showed that Au was against Kwan. Therefore she found Au guilty of assaulting a police officer.
Mitigation plea：Au never intended to assault the officers but tried to coordinate and de-escalate tension
The defence counsel said in mitigation that Au was elected as a lawmaker and he has been serving the society for a long time. He will be going to Japan to pursue a doctoral degree. There is no sentencing guideline for assaulting police officer and Au did not intend to assault any officer at that time. Instead he merely tried to defuse the tension. According to Ko’s medical report, there is no permanent injury done. Therefore the defence hoped the magistrate to consider imposing a community service order or a fine. Au also admitted that his wordings on that day were inappropriate and he regrets that, said the defence counsel.
The case was heard in January this year. Ko testified that Au once yelled “fxxk you” at him and he responded, “You are a lawmaker, you used foul language.” Ko also recalled from the police footage and described that Au “chased after him and yelled at him”. He ordered Au not to “put the loudhailer so close” but Au did not comply. He was not aware of any discomfort in his right ear since he was occupied with the operation that night. However the discomfort persisted, impacting his sleep and causing him hearing noises. He therefore “felt something not right” and saw a doctor. Ko did not feel any discomfort in his ears prior to the clash. According to the medical report, he suffered from acute hearing loss.
Kwan, who was responsible for holding the defense line that day, testified that at around 00:00 on 8th July 2019, he was ordered to set up a defense line and to disperse the crowd in the vicinity of Nathan Road. Amidst the operation he heard Au and Jeremy Tam Man-ho, another lawmaker, persistently requested to meet the commander. Au called him “Yi Jin Jai” and hit his shield by a microphone 3 times, said Kwan. He also said that he was scared because Au is a lawmaker. He cannot imagine that he would clash against the police defense line.
According to the charges, at 0025 to 0031 on 8th July 2019, Au Nok-hin (age 32) assaulted police officers on Nathan Road between Dundas Street and Hamilton Street. The police officers are identified as police constable 23663 Kwan Chi-ho and superintendent Ko Chun-pong. The prosecution used the aliases “AAA” and “EEE” referring to the two police officers respectively at the early stages of mention. The application of anonymity was later withdrawn.
*”Yi Jin” is a Cantonese short term for the Diploma Yi Jin Programme. It usually admits students who do not score well in public exams so that they can still acquire the diploma, satisfying the requirement of obtaining passing grade in a certain number of subjects to join the police force. “Yi Jin Jai” is a term used to insult Yi Jin students and graduates as academic underachievers.