The 17-year-old Yau Ka-lok earlier pleaded guilty to taking part in unlawful assembly when brought before magistrate Frances Leung Nga-yan at Kowloon City Magistrates’ Court.
Yau’s defense lawyers had also told the court during previous mitigation that his client had been bullied at a younger age, and he only carried a large amount of first-aid supplies with him on that day to help others, and said Yau did not commit any violence on the day of the incident.
On Monday, Yau’s lawyers added that both community service order and probation reports showed that Yau is a well-behaved student at school, and he is deeply regretful about his actions after committing the offense.
“Yau had already applied for several universities in Taiwan as he hoped to study nursing in September after completing his sentence,” the lawyer said, adding that he hoped the court to hand down a rehabilitation center order.
After listening to the defense, Leung said Yau had a weak sense of civil obedience while the environment and Yau’s participation made the case serious in nature, therefore sentenced him to the rehabilitation center, believing it can “correct his mind and ways in handling things”.
She added that Yau did not have any bad habits apart from committing this offense, and that he was a first offender who had pleaded guilty to his offense.
Based on reports, Leung decided that sending Yau to a rehabilitation center would be the best-suited sentence, as it can help rectify one's thinking and ways of doing things, instead of training his physical fitness and discipline in a detention center.
The court was told Yau had participated in an unlawful assembly outside Dragon Centre on Yen Chow Street in Sham Shui Po on August 11, 2019. There were around 300 people gathered outside the shopping mall, with some protesters setting road blockades, spraying paint and targeting their laser pointers at police officers.
The crowd was dispersed after police fired tear gas, and Yau, who was dressed in black with a gas mask, was arrested when trying to escape.
Footage showed that Yau had put off tear gas cannisters, and he was found to have carried saline and bandages in his backpack. There were also goggles, face masks and gas masks in his backpack.
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