Hong Kong court delivered the first imprisonment over riot in the year-long anti-extradition movement on Friday May 15 as a 22-year-old man has been sentenced to four years behind bars for rioting, over his role in the protest outside Legco on June 12 last year.
Sin Ka-ho - who has been working as a lifeguard for five years - is the first person to have pleaded guilty to rioting charges in the year-long anti-extradition movement.
He was arrested near an entrance of the Legco complex following clashes between protesters and police on that day.
District judge Amanda Woodcock said in her sentencing that a riot has “an immediate and serious impact to the rule of law” which is the cornerstone of Hong Kong.
She said she determined the jail term after considering the extent of the overall violence involved, but not taking into account the actions of the defendant in isolation ... and concluded that the violence seen outside Legco was “large in scale and very serious”.
Surveillance camera footage clearly showed that Sin was in the thick of things – as protesters dug up bricks and chucked hard objects at police, Woodcock said at the court.
But the judge said she didn't just take Sin's own actions into account in deciding on a four-year sentence – she also considered that the overall violence at the scene was "large in scale and very serious."
She said things may have got even worse had police not used tear gas to control the crowd.
Judge Woodcock said despite the defendant's guilty plea, young age and clean record, together with the many mitigation letters she received, an immediate custodial and deterrent sentence is needed.
Supporters chanting protest slogans briefly surrounded a police van that took Sin away from the court, raising their outstretched palms to signify the protest movement's five core demands.
Photo credit: (top & bottom) Ray Li/EYEPRESS, (middle) WILLY WONG/EYEPRESS)