A Hong Kong man was jailed for nine months on Wednesday for chasing a group of protesters while wielding a knife.
West Kowloon Court heard Choi Pei-tak, 45, intimidated about 20 black-clad protesters by pointing and waving a 15cm blade at them at around 6pm outside Yat Tung Estate bus terminus in Tung Chung on September 1.
That day, protesters had blocked roads and vandalised the railway station in the northern Lantau Island town, paralysing traffic to the airport.
Choi, a transport worker and local resident, initially denied one count of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place, but opted to plead guilty just before his trial.
Magistrate Winnie Lau Yee-wan said the defendant’s act was an apparent threat to public safety, which guaranteed a deterrent sentence.
“It was sheer luck that no one was injured,” she said. “The defendant should have made a police report, instead of carrying a weapon and resorting to violence.”
She said that in a video widely shared online, the defendant, wearing white, was seen clutching the knife in his right hand and chasing protesters for about five seconds. The knife was not sheathed, and some protesters threw bottles and shouted at the defendant.
In sentencing Choi, the magistrate imposed a starting point of 15 months in jail, but reduced it by five months to credit his guilty plea.
She granted a further reduction of one month, as she found that the defendant appeared truly remorseful and brave to accept liability for his crime.
Separately, police on Tuesday arrested five Hong Kong men in connection with a firebomb attack at Kowloon Tong railway station in October.
Investigations showed a masked pair had hurled two petrol bombs into the MTR station and fled in two getaway cars just before 2.30pm on October 12. Two turnstiles were damaged in the incident.
There was no protest in the area at the time but an anti-government rally was being held in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Officers from Kowloon West regional crime unit arrested five men aged from 26 to 40 in a series of raids across the city on Tuesday.
Four of them were charged in Kowloon City Court on Wednesday afternoon.
They faced a joint count of conspiracy to commit arson.