A 31-year-old man, Pun Ho-chiu, has been jailed for 21 months for throwing eggs at a police station, as authorities in Hong Kong continue to clamp down on political dissent in the Chinese territory.
In handing down her sentence on Thursday, Magistrate Winnie Lau said that while “an egg is not a weapon of mass destruction,” the throwing of such items at a police station provoked “discontent” with the force, undermined officers’ law enforcement actions, and endangered society, according to public broadcaster RTHK.
In 2019, there was massive violent anti-government protests for months, due to youths anger at the Hong Kong government bowing down to Chinese mainland demands.
The protests which stemmed from a bill which authorized the Hong Kong government to prosecute criminal offenders in mainland China resulted in lots of arrests and number of prosecutions.
Pun Ho-chiu, one of the thousands of protesters who took to the streets, threw eggs at a police station and was subsequently arrested.
Protester gets 21 months in prison for throwing eggs at police station
This year Beijing enacted new national security laws which tightened its grip on the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong, putting judges in a difficult position when it comes to handing down sentences to anti-government dissent.
The new law which bypassed Hong Kong’s legislature, criminalized secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces.
Hong Kong has long prized its independent judiciary and rule of law, characteristics which set the city apart from mainland China, where courts are subject to the demands of the ruling Communist Party
But all of that is now set to change.
In a statement this week, the Hong Kong Bar Association said it “deplores irrational and unrestrained attacks on the Judiciary and members of the Judiciary” and urged media to stop speculating on the political beliefs of judges.
Some judges have also come under fire for showing alleged bias against protesters. In May, Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma removed District Court judge Kwok Wai-kin from protest cases after he described a man who had stabbed three people at a pro-democracy “Lennon wall” as a “victim” whose livelihood had been affected by people “behaving like terrorists.”
“Judges have a responsibility under the Basic Law, owed to the community, to exercise independent judicial power by adjudicating on cases fairly and impartially, without fear or favour,”
Ma said in a statement.