The High Court has ruled that there is sufficient evidence for the rioting trial of localist activist Edward Leung to proceed.
Leung earlier denied three counts of riot-related charges following the 2016 unrest in Mong Kok, but pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer. He is facing up to a decade behind bars.
The trial began in January. Leung, along with four other protesters, appeared before Judge Athena Pang at the High Court on Monday morning. Pang ruled that there was a case to answer on the rioting charges, meaning that there was sufficient evidence to move forward with the case.
The clashes broke out over Chinese New Year two years ago, when demonstrators became angered at authorities’ attempts to clear street hawkers. During the events, a police officer fired warning shots into the air.
The other four defendants include Lee Nok-man, Lo Kin-man, Lam Ngo-hin and Lam Lun-hing. The last defendant, Wong Ka-kui, earlier pleaded guilty to one count of rioting and did not appear in court.
Ray Wong, who like Leung belonged to localist group Hong kong Indigenous and is facing rioting charges for his involvement in the protest, failed to report to the police station last year. He has been missing since and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Rioting carries a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment under the Public Order Ordinance, while the maximum penalty for assaulting police officers is two years in prison under the Offences against the Person Ordinance.
90 protesters have been arrested in connection with the incident. Last week, a 26-year-old waiter was sentenced to 34 months behind bars for throwing a piece of brick and ratting a road sign during the night of the protests.