Six men charged over a mob attack at Yuen Long MTR station in northern Hong Kong in 2019 have a case to answer, a court has ruled.
The District Court held on Monday that prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence in the first trial yet stemming from the attack – a watershed moment in 2019’s anti-government unrest – to require the suspects to enter a defence.
One of the defendants, 59-year-old driver Ng Wai-nam, is expected to testify in the witness box when the trial resumes on Tuesday, and three other defence witnesses will also be called. His co-defendants are likely to remain silent in the dock and let their lawyers make submissions on their behalf.
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The six have denied rioting and wounding others during the overnight violence between July 21 and 22, 2019, when a white-shirted mob went after a group of protesters and other commuters in and around Yuen Long MTR.
The men in white, most of whom were armed with rattan canes or wooden sticks, were said to have first carried out the assaults inside the facility at 10.40pm on July 21, then again around Exit J of the facility in the early hours of the next day, followed by another incident in the connected Yoho Mall.
Four of the accused – transport worker Wong Chi-wing, 56; cable worker Wong Ying-kit, 49; village representative Tang Ying-bun, 62; and electrician Choi Lap-ki, 40 – were said to be among 50 white-shirted men who clashed with a group of about 100 mostly black-clad people in the station’s concourse, and later on board a Tuen Mun-bound train.
Two others, Ng and 62-year-old merchant Tang Wai-sum, were allegedly involved in an incident near Long Wo Road just after midnight, where a group of 30 people in white surrounded and attacked men wearing black with sticks. Tang was further accused of taking part in a separate incident at Exit J in which the group in white forcefully opened the closed gate and rushed into the station concourse attacking people.
The six were each charged with one count of rioting, with Tang Wai-sum facing an extra count of the same charge. All except Ng were also charged with one count of wounding with intent, while Ng and Tang Wai-sum were each slapped with an additional charge of conspiracy to wound.
Sixteen prosecution witnesses, all of whom were granted anonymity, have testified in court over the course of four weeks. Prosecutors confirmed at the end of their case that no police officers would appear in the witness box – a first for a rioting trial related to the 2019 unrest.
At the crux of the case was whether the six defendants, who were all arrested after the attack, were indeed the perpetrators captured on camera.
Barrister Kwan Tong-lee, representing transport worker Wong, urged the court on Monday to clear his client in the middle of the trial, saying the shoes and pants seized at Wong’s home as evidence after his arrest were of ordinary design, and that the video evidence purportedly showing him at the scene was blurry and unreliable.
“Even if we take the prosecution case to its highest, this court cannot conclude that the man in question was the defendant,” Kwan said.
But senior assistant director of public prosecutions Anthony Chau Tin-hang said Wong could still be identified in the footage by his white T-shirt, printed in red with the words “MADE IN CHINA” on both the front and back, as well as his physique and facial features.
After the exchange, District Judge Eddie Yip Chor-man quickly dismissed the defence lawyer’s plea, saying the cumulative effect of numerous similar features between the assailant and Wong made the latter suspicious enough.
“All defendants have a case to answer in relation to their respective charges,” the judge concluded.
This article Hong Kong court rules six men charged over Yuen Long mob attack have case to answer first appeared on South China Morning Post