Tsang Wai-lung, 31, had earlier pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit arson and possession with intent to destroy or damage property, saying he was told – and he believed – the box he was transporting in his taxi contained medical supplies.
But District Court judge Clement Lee said Tsang was pretending to be ignorant of the contents of the box.
The judge said the box had been slightly open, so Tsang should have been able to see through the gap while he was carrying the box to his vehicle, and would have smelt gasoline.
Lee said that even though Tsang had played a relatively minor role, this could not be seen as a mitigating factor.
He explained that the petrol bombs could have been ignited at any time during transport, as lighters were stored in the same box. The judge said there would have been “chaos and terrible scenes” if the petrol bombs had been used.
He also said there could have been damage to property if the petrol bombs had been unintentionally set off – for example, by a smoker nearby, or if the bombs had exploded in the taxi, which ran on liquid petroleum gas.
Lee said he had considered increasing Tsang’s sentence, because it was related to the anti-government protests, but instead reduced it by three months as the taxi driver had no previous convictions.