In what may be a controversial verdict, a protester in Hong Kong has been jailed for 21 months for egging a police station during last year's Hong Kong protests.
The 31-year-old protester named Pun Ho-chiu had thrown an egg at a police station during the Hong Kong protests on July 21 last year. According to a report in state broadcaster RTHK, Ho-chiu was charged with nine different counts including causing criminal damage, assaulting a cop, and illegal assembly. Lau was known as the "the painter" and according to the court, played an important role in the protests.
While giving the verdict, Magistrate Winnie Lau said that though the egg was not a "weapon of mass destruction", it was nevertheless the court's duty to protect law enforcement in carrying out their duties.
The judge also added that that egging the police station had not just sullied the police headquarter but also caused damage to an escalator. No person was harmed during the protest.
The news comes after high-profile pro-democracy activists and former politicians Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and Ivan Lam pleaded guilty for protesting outside a police headquarters in Hong Kong last year. Thousands of protesters and activists were arrested for pro-democracy protests last year and courts in Hong Kong are currently facing a severe backlog.
Added to this is the growing pressure from Beijing on judges and courts to hand out strict punishment to protesters who broke the law. As China tightened its control on the island city, it laid down a new National Security Law that critics slammed as a means for Beijing's clampdown on pro-democracy protests, dissent, political freedom, thought and free-speech.
The controversial law was implemented earlier in July, prohibiting what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities, or as foreign intervention in the territory's internal affairs. The legislation criminalizes some pro-democracy slogans like the widely used "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time," which the Hong Kong government says has separatist connotations.