First aider convicted of rioting as judge rules ‘aiding is not neutrality’

Chan Cho-ho, the 26-year-old first-aider who was arrested in a protest on August 31, 2019, has had his appeal against his rioting conviction dismissed.

The riot took place in Causeway Bay and involved a gathering which involved arson and protesters tossing materials in the roadway.

In a video recording of the incident, submitted as evidence, Chan was spotted running away from the scene as the police arrived, along with a woman wearing a yellow reflective vest signifying first aid and a man in a black T-shirt.

Chan, as well as other protesters in the incident, were dressed in black, according to the video, and the black-shirt man with him was found assaulting the police when arrested.

Chan applied for the appeal against being convicted as a rioter, claiming he went to the scene as a first aider and was on trial on Wednesday (August 31) in the High Court under three judges.

However, his appeal was dismissed by the judges, with the ruling that “giving aid does not mean remaining neutral.”

“Even though Chan saw himself as a first-aider,” the judge said, “he could be considered a rioter if his intention and actions in the incident meet the classification of ‘riot.’”

The defense of Chan argued that he was found possessing bandages when he was arrested and confirmed that he knew first aid knowledge, which could prove Chan was a first aider rather than a rioter.

However, the judge quoted that a medic in a war can still be considered a soldier.

“It is believed that the three were ‘escaping’ from the riot they took part in from their appearance and the equipment they held,” said the judge.

Chan will be sentenced to four years behind bars, according to the court.