Taxi driver who repeatedly punched man defending Lennon Wall jailed

A 46-year-old man surnamed Wong was arrested for punching another man that had been guarding a Lennon Wall in Kowloon Bay. Screengrab via YouTube.
A 46-year-old man surnamed Wong was arrested for punching another man that had been guarding a Lennon Wall in Kowloon Bay. Screengrab via YouTube.

A court has sentenced a taxi driver to five and a half months in jail for repeatedly punching a man defending a Lennon Wall volunteer in July.

Wong Kin-hoi, 46, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm during his appearance at Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Court on Friday, HK01 reports.

The assault in question took place on July 11, when Wong showed up to the Lennon Wall outside the Kowloon Bay MTR station — one of many such displays to appear in the city in recent months — and began tearing down messages that had been posted there in support of the city’s long-running protest movement.

After Wong allegedly pushed over 65-year-old Lee Chun-kwong, who was among those looking after the display, he was confronted by a handful of other volunteers, including 36-year-old Mak Sai-kit.

In a video of the altercation, Mak can be seen standing in front of Wong to prevent him from leaving, with Wong responding by punching Mak several times in the face, shouting, “Come on! Do you want this?” Mak, for his part, calmly takes blow after blow with his hands clasped behind his back. The court heard that Mak was punched 13 times.

At one point, Wong can be heard saying, “File charges against me, then, I’m drunk.”

HK01 reports that Wong admitted that he was drunk at the time of the incident, and that he feels for remorse for what he did.

Wong’s defense attorney said that the city’s protests — which at that point had been going on for a month — had affected his work, and that the road blockades formed by protesters saw business fall by about 30 percent.

Magistrate Ivy Chui said that video of the incident clearly shows that although Wong was surrounded by at least 10 people, no one attacked him, yet he still proceeded to attack Mak and Lee.

Chui said that the victims did not sustain any serious injuries, and that although Wong was drunk at the time, he still needed to bear the legal responsibility for his actions, and sentenced him to five and a half months in jail.

“Lennon Walls,” trace their lineage back to 1980s Prague, where a mural memorializing John Lennon after his assassination became a clearinghouse for politically inflected, often anti-war graffiti.

The concept first cropped up in Hong Kong during the 2014 Umbrella Movement, and returned with the city’s most recent protest movement.

Since the protests began, the Lennon Walls have been at the center of scuffles between pro-democracy and pro-Beijing supporters with fights breaking out among both sides. More serious incidents include the stabbing of a student inside Tai Po’s Lennon Tunnel earlier this month, and a man wounding three people with a knife at a Lennon Wall in Tseung Kwan O in August.

In the Tai Po incident, a man has been formally charged with one count of wounding with intent, and his case has been postponed to Dec. 18. Meanwhile, Ming Pao reported on Oct. 17 that lawyers have amended the charge against the suspect arrested in the Tseung Kwan O incident from wounding to wounding with intent.

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