Indiscriminate arrest on lawmaker , accused of assault on police officers by loudspeaker and pushing against riot shield, declared guilty of two criminal offences
During the breakout of conflicts on 7th July, 2019, a then lawmaker, Au Nok-hin, was charged of two criminal offences of assaulting a police officer, where he had allegedly pushed against the riot shield with his loudspeaker and had used the loudspeaker in conversation with a commander from the Police Public Relations Branch (PPRB), Ko Chun Pong, which made his ears feel uncomfortable. He was found guilty of the two offences on 7th April, 2020 with the magistrate being Leung Ka-kei, in the trial taking place in Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts. The case would be adjourned to 24th April, 2020 to await sentence. In the meantime, the Community Service Orders Report would be taken and Au continues his release on bail.
Magistrate states Au Nok-hin had a malicious intent and the loudspeaker’s volume was deafening
The magistrate Leung Ka-kei stated in her ruling in Ko Chun Pong’s case that Ko had repeatedly demanded Au not to “put it so close” to his ears, had used his hand to swipe at the loudspeaker, and the loudspeaker was approximately 27 inches from the two. Leung believed the Ko’s actions fully explained that he did not agree with Au’s shouting in such a close range. When Ko called for him to stop his shouting, Au responded, “Why not? I have the right to shout.” Leung said that this revealed Au’s malicious intent, and his loudspeaker’s volume was deafening which could cause discomfort over a certain period of time. She also believed that the prosecution had ruled out other possible reasons that made his ears hurt. Au’s offence on Ko Chun Pong was therefore pronounced guilty.
As for assaulting an other officer, Kwan Chi-ho, the magistrate said that Au had insulted Kwan with the phrase “Yi Jins” and also used the microphone to hit his riot shield 3 times, according to evidence provided. (Note: The plan ‘Project Yi Jin’ is an alternative route for secondary students who had failed in their final exams to continue in their studies. This phrase mocks the majority of the officers’s low education level.) Kwan said that he was “afraid at that time, since Au was a lawmaker and I could not believe that he would breach the police’s line of defense”, and said he was scared stiff when clutching his shield. Leung believed that the above actions were enough to prove that he was worried of the defendant’s actions and worried to be treated in an unlawful manner. The insult against Kwan also proved that it was targeted at him, and Au was therefore pronounced guilty.
Mitigation: Au’s motive was not to assault, but to assist and resolve the incident
In mitigation, the defendant stated that as a lawmaker, Au had always served the community and will be going to Japan for his Doctorate Programme soon. The offence had no sentencing guidelines, and Au’s motive was never to assault any officer, rather, to assist and resolve the incident. More importantly, Ko’s medical report showed no signs of him having permanent damage, and so it was hoped that the magistrate could initiate the sentence in fines or community service. Au admitted that he regretted his actions.
During the trial in January 2020, Ko said that Au had swore at him using the phrase “Fxxk you!”. Ko replied, “You swear even though you’re a lawmaker?” After watching police footage of the incident, Ko described that Au had “chased after and yelled at him” while holding the loudspeaker, and had repeatedly demanded Au not to “put it so close” to his ears. He did not feel anything since he was on duty that night, but his discomfort continued, even affecting his sleep, causing him to hear wind sounds from within his ears. After seeking medical treatment, it was concluded that he is suffering from acute deafness.
One of the officers at the first line of defense, Kwan Chi-ho, stated earlier on that he had received order to conduct dispersal actions on Nathan Road at around midnight on 8th July, 2019. During then, he heard two lawmakers, namely Jeremy Tam Man-ho and Au Nok-hin, insisting to see the commander-in-charge. He claimed to have heard Au “targeting me and call me a ‘Yi Jin’ and hit the riot shield with the microphone 3 times.” Kwan said that he was “afraid at that time, since Au was a lawmaker and I could not believe that he would breach the police’s line of defense.”
The accused crimes: On 8th July, 2019, taking place on the junction points of Nathan Road and Dundas Street, and Nathan Road and Hamilton Street. Au Nok-hin (32 years old) assaulted officers who were on duty, namely Officer 23663 Kwan Chi-ho and Commander Ko Chun Pong. Initially, the prosecution used indicators such as “AAA” and “EEE” to represent the officer and commander, but later withdrew the anonymity request.