Telegram channel admin jailed over 2019 protests

A man who helped run a Telegram group was on Monday sentenced to four years and 10 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to nine incitement charges linked to the social unrest in 2019.

Siu Cheung-lung was accused of inciting others to commit rioting, public nuisance, arson and other offences in the nearly 1,200 messages he forwarded to the channel.

Prosecution said the messages suggested that people should make petrol bombs, join protests at the Chinese University, interfere with MTR’s operation and attack the police and government supporters.

Passing sentence, District Court judge Anthony Kwok underlined messages which encouraged people to join the protests at the Chinese University, describing the situation back then as “critical.”

The judge said: “Had people listened to him and used chemicals at the university to make explosives, the consequences would have been dire.”

The judge also described as “horrific” a message that called on people to use metal rods and nitric acid to attack the police and government supporters, or so-called “blue-ribbons”.

He said the message would have led to violence, encouraged hatred and deepened social conflict.

Siu’s lawyer said during mitigation that not many people were influenced by the messages, but the judge disagreed, saying they could easily incite “like-minded” people to commit crimes.

“If you choose to pursue what you believe to be justice and break the law, then you will have to shoulder the consequences,” the judge commented.