Mong Kok riot: three more guiltyLocal | Phoebe Ng Jul 18, 2017
It was the third trial over the February 9, 2016 riot in Mong Kok.
Though the men were masked during the trouble, a District Court judge ruled that photographic evidence was sufficient to convict transport workers Chris Yung Tsz-hin, 18, and Law Ho-yin, 20; and worker Lin Yun-faat, 26.
However, Leo Chan Siu-kwan, 48, who is unemployed, and tour agency employee Sung Kwan-wo, 27, were acquitted as the prosecution could not prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Sentencing was adjourned to August 7 pending a background report on Lin and training center reports on Yung and Law. They face up to 10 years in prison.
All three were remanded in custody.
The trio were among the hundreds of protesters who "ignored police warnings" and "prepared to resort to force," Judge Frankie Yiu Fun-che ruled. "It was frightening, threatening and inciting. Social order was no doubt disrupted."
Judge Yiu also said the rioters had occupied pedestrian paths and roads and that some even threw bricks and stones at cars and fences. Yung and Law claimed they were not present but the judge accepted the prosecution's arguments that they were the two male suspects in surgical masks shown in video evidence.
"Their hair, clothes and even shoes all matched with the defendants. It is such a coincidence that I cannot rule other than that the two men were [Yung and Law]."
He said the police witnesses gave "honest" and "trustworthy" evidence.
The judge also rejected Lin's claims that his acts were in self-defense.
Though the defense had pointed to a police officer firing a shot around midnight, Judge Yiu said the offense was committed several hours later.
Lin contested the admissibility of his initial police statements, claiming he was "misled" but the judge concluded they were made voluntarily.
There were only two police witnesses pointing at Chan and Sung and the judge said the evidence was insufficient.
"When Chan was arrested, he was still holding a cell phone," the judge said. "In such a chaotic situation, it is hard to be sure Chan had been hurling bricks."
Sung's lawyer described the prosecution's case as "a bizarre claim." He argued Sung neither threw bricks nor took part in the protest and the officer claiming to have seen him was far away. Families of the acquitted cheered upon hearing the verdict.
The five men had denied rioting near the junction of Soy Street and Fa Yuen Street in Mong Kok. The prosecution claimed the three had thrown bricks at police and two others were seen holding bottles.
In all 21 people have been prosecuted over the riot in five separate cases with four found guilty earlier. Two cases are ongoing.