Yuen Long rampage was indiscriminate violence: judge

A District Court judge said on Tuesday that he is considering imposing heavy sentences on several men involved in the mob attacks in Yuen Long on July 21, 2019, as he described the violence as “indiscriminate” and said the assailants seemed to have “lost their minds”.

The court convicted five men of wounding and rioting last month, while two others had earlier pleaded guilty.

Hearing mitigation from four of the defendants in the case, district judge Eddie Yip said the men were not bad in nature, but they seemed to have lost control of themselves that night.

He said the attacks that took place at Yuen Long MTR Station that night were very serious, with passengers of all ages coming under assault.

“People were trapped and couldn’t escape. Their weapons were also unequal – even the umbrellas they used (to block the attacks) were smashed. The scenes were saddening,” the judge said, adding that some citizens were very brave.

The judge said although one of the defendants, Lam Koon-leung, pleaded guilty and apologised to the victims, a heavy sentence is required to reflect the seriousness of the case.

He also described defendant Choi Lap-ki as an “active participant” in attacks on a staircase leading up to the station’s concourse, saying it’s hard to think of any reason to give him a light sentence.

The judge, however, noted that defendants Wong Ying-kit and Ng Wai-nam played comparatively lesser roles in the attacks.

The remaining three defendants are due to appear in court on Wednesday for mitigation, and sentences will be handed down on July 22.

The attacks on July 21 two years ago left dozens of people in hospital.

The police came in for heavy criticism for failing to take action to stop the violence, despite the emergency 999 hotline being flooded with calls. Officers only arrived at the scene after the mob had dispersed.

The force has since described the violence as a fight between two evenly-matched sides, and said it should not be characterised as an indiscriminate attack. Some of those injured in the attacks have themselves been charged with rioting.