Chief Health Inspector depicted Mong Kok turmoil as "chaos"

Prosecutors accuse four people of taking part in riot, during the Mong Kok unrest trial. The trial began at Hong Kong's High Court after jury selection on  November 28, 2018.

Chief Health Inspector Lai Yau-yu, of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department described the clash between the police-force and citizens at a Lunar New Year night in 2016 as "chaotic".

Mr. Lai, a witness for the prosecution, notified the court that the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department planned to coordinate with police officers to maintain public order in Mong Kok on February 8, 2016.

According to Mr. Lai, he received a message from a police officer, stating Hong Kong Indigenous, a localist group, would gather people to support food hawkers in Sham Shui Po or Mong Kok.

"I saw a group of people standing at the corner of Portland Street and Shantung Street. They were about to put on blue jackets," Mr. Lai said."'Hong Kong Indigenous' were printed on those jackets." The Inspector added that the group of people walk into an alley of Portland Street after putting on jackets.

He saw that two food trolleys were pulled out by hawkers from the alley, followed by a handful of people in blue jackets. They pulled the trolleys to Argyle Street.

A lockdown happened in Mong Kok during a Lunar New Year night in 2016 - a police officer fired two gun shots while some protesters threw bricks at the police-force and set fire. The clash began after protesters intended to stop a clampdown on hawkers.

Edward Leung Tin-kei, a former spokesperson of Hong Kong Indigenous, along with three others, namely Lee Nok-man, Lam Ngo-hin and Yung Wai-ip, are facing charges of participating in riot. They all denied the charge.

"I was too far away from the crowd that I could not observe what happened," Mr. Lai noted. "However, I heard people shouting at the staff of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, calling them to leave. Some people even shouted out profanity." Mr. Lai said it was a scene of chaos.

Mr. Lai told the court that he made a phone call to the control room of the Mong Kok office of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to dismiss officers who were on-duty, after noticing a conflict happened between the police and pedestrians. He added he made the order regarding safety concerns.

"One of my colleagues got hurt," the Inspector stated."We called the ambulance and he was sent to the hospital."

Defense lawyer David Ma Wai-kwan said law enforcement in Lunar New Year is believed to be less harsh than it is on typical days, but Mr. Lai disagreed.

The trial continues in front of Justice Albert Wong Sung-hau on Friday.

Case number: HCCC408/2016, HCCC408A/2016

《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) is an English news publication produced by international journalism students at Hong Kong Baptist University. It started as a printed magazine in 1969. Today, TYR is produced across different platforms.

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