Three men have been handed jail sentences for following pro-democracy lawmaker Eddie Chu on the day of the Legislative Council elections last September. A fourth has been given community service.
The Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Courts convicted Wong Kin-fai, 36, Wong Chun-yam, 18, Lam Ka-chun, 43, and Ho Yee-kei, 41 of loitering last month. The first two defendants previously claimed that they were driving around on the morning of September 4 last year in order to find a place to eat breakfast.
A candidate in the New Territories West constituency, Chu campaigned on a platform of ending what he called collusion between officials, businesspeople, rural leaders and triads.
After being elected with the highest number of votes of any candidate, Chu reported “serious threats” to himself and his family, and requested police protection. Six men whom the police said were linked to organised crime were arrested in September, but two were later released.
On Tuesday, the court sentenced Wong Kin-fai, Wong Chun-yam and Lam to two months’ imprisonment. Ho, the only defendant without a criminal record, was ordered to serve 160 hours of community service.
The magistrate said the defendants premeditated their crimes as they began following Chu before dawn, reported RTHK.
He added that although the defendants did not make verbal threats to Chu, following him with two vehicles was enough to lead the candidate to fear for his safety – making a deterrent sentence necessary.
Chu is currently facing a judicial review lodged by a member of the public, seeking to oust him and fellow opposition lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai from their seats due to the ways in which they took their oaths of office last October. Chu had shouted “democratic self-determination, tyranny will end” on the podium of the Legislative Council chamber.
The High Court has already disqualified six opposition lawmakers over the oath-taking saga, after Beijing issued a controversial interpretation of the Basic Law last November to retroactively stipulate how the oaths should have been taken.