Two students jailed over CUHK bridge clashes

The District Court on Wednesday jailed one student for four-and-a-half years and another for three years and nine months for rioting at Chinese University in 2019.

The court ruled that Cheung Chun-ho, 20, and Tang Hei-man, 25, had been among around a hundred people who had thrown bricks, petrol bombs and other objects at police officers on a bridge outside the university campus on November 12, 2019.

The court heard that the petrol bombs had hit some police officers and briefly set their uniforms and shields alight.

Cheung and Tang were also found guilty of breaching the ban on face masks.

In sentencing, judge Clement Lee said the riot that day had, to a certain extent, been premeditated, as a riot had also happened there the previous day and protesters were attempting to regain control of the bridge.

The judge noted that the bridge passes over the Tolo Highway and the MTR’s East Rail Line, and there would have been serious disturbances to the public if the bridge had been re-occupied, as protesters had thrown objects to block traffic the day before.

“The scale of the riot that day was big, with many people targeting the police with direct violence, such as throwing a lot of petrol bombs, bricks and objects – some of which were directly launched by [Cheung],” the judge said, as he sentenced the Institute of Vocational Education student to four years and six months in jail.

Tang, a Chinese University student, received a jail sentence of three years and nine months.

“[The other defendant] had enough time to leave and enough space to distance herself, but she chose to stay for over 13 minutes,” Lee said.

“Judging by her clothes and gear, and that she was standing in the same line with other protesters, she was deliberately staying to offer encouragement, and had encouraged others to use violence… However, there is no evidence to prove that the defendant used violence herself.”

Another defendant, Chan Hey-hang, 23, was jailed for two months for violating the mask ban, but was cleared of a charge of rioting.

The judge said that even though the defendants were young when they committed the offences, their ages and good family backgrounds are not mitigating factors due to the serious crimes.