An artist and assistant to a legislator was sentenced to 160 hours of community service on Tuesday for threatening to jump from a bridge near the Central Government Offices during last year’s pro-democracy Occupy protests.
A 90-minute standoff unfolded last September 28 as Au Yeung Tung scaled the pedestrian bridge connecting Admiralty Centre to Tamar Park. Police halted traffic and the fire service inflated an air cushion as a precaution. The episode took place hours before police unleashed tear gas in an attempt to clear the area of pro-democracy demonstrators.
Magistrate Lee Siu-ho said Au Yeung’s actions were “irresponsible” and neglected the interests of the public, according to Singtao. Lee, however, accepted 21 letters of mitigation which stated that Au Yeung had a good background and a passion to serve society. In court, Magistrate Lee said that he hoped Au Yeung would consider others people’s interests and think before he acts.
Frederick Fung, a legislator for the pro-democracy Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood party – for whom Au Yeung is an assistant – was among those who submitted recommendation letters. District councillors Wong Chi-yung and Yum Kwok-tung, and vice-chairman Tam Kwok-kiu; professors Benny Tai, Yau Ching, Mirana May Szeto; and Artists Sammu Chan and Cheng Man-chai also submitted letters.
Au Yeung said outside court that he was shocked by the verdict since protesters who “violently charged” into LegCo, smashing a window, received fewer hours of community service than him. He said that his means of protest was peaceful, rational and non-violent but still believed that Hong Kong’s legal process is just.
Au Yeung also said that police tactics during the protest were even more “selfish” and “inconsiderate.” He said that he will put things into consideration in the future, but will still protest through art.