HONG KONG (News Agency) – An erstwhile up-and-comer in Hong Kong radical youth opposition was imprisoned for six years on Monday for rioting and attacking police, one of the city’s severe punishment against a democracy activist lately.
Edward Leung, 27 years old, one of the leaders of a movement advocating Hong Kong’s independence from China, had previously been found culpable of rioting in a 2016 overnight protest that turned violent. He had pleaded guilty to attacking a police officer.
Leung seemed to remain composed upon hearing High Court Judge Anthea Pang declared the punishment, while burble of incredulity waved through a crowd of about one hundred and fifty activists and supporters watching a live broadcast outside the courtroom.
Pang criticised the “severe violence” of the riot, which she said had jeopardized those at the scene.
“The court absolutely does not allow livelihood or political disputes to be expressed through acts of violence,” she said.
Leung has supported Hong Kong’s outright secession from China given Beijing’s perceived erosion of the “one country two systems” principle granting the city a high degree of autonomy since it was handed from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
China has continuously criticised the independence movement, afraid of the plan catching on in the mainland. President Xi Jinping alerted last year that any effort to jeopardize China’s sovereignty would be an act that crosses a “red line”.
Leung’s punishment came after a week of two other pro-independence activists and erstwhile lawmakers were punished to one month on imprisonment for gathering unlawfully in the legislature while still in public office.