Hong Kong activist sentenced for tuna sandwich attack

Avery Ng Man-yuen speaking outside West Kowloon Law Courts Image copyright RTHK
Image caption Sandwich-flinger Avery Ng Man-yuen was released pending an appeal

A pro-democracy activist in Hong Kong has been sentenced to three weeks in prison after he threw a tuna sandwich at the territory's former leader CY Leung, it's been reported.

Forty-year-old Avery Ng Man-yuen was found guilty on Tuesday of common assault by the West Kowloon Magistracy for the attack which took place last year, according to broadcaster RTHK.

The court heard that Mr Ng, who is the chairman of the League of Social Democrats political party, flung a sandwich at former chief executive CY Leung at a polling station on election day in September 2016.

Mr Leung ducked what he later called a "stinky fish sandwich", and the ballistic buttie hit Hong Kong's acting chief inspector of police Lau Wing-kwan instead, The Standard newspaper says.

Mr Ng told the court that he had thrown the sandwich at Leung because he was looking "very smug", but had been expecting him to catch it.

Magistrate So Wai-tak said that the sentence would send a message "to those who use illegal means to express their dissatisfaction with the government, otherwise there could be copycats threatening civil servants".

Mr Ng, who does not have a prior criminal record, has already been released on bail pending an appeal.

Bread and butter protest

During his mitigation, South China Morning Post reports that Mr Ng told the magistrate: "I hope you understand that no deterrent sentence will work on me."

He added that he felt "deeply honoured" to be able to speak out for Hong Kong's underprivileged, claiming that the incident had brought to light that some four in ten elderly people in the region live in poverty.

"They don't have any dignity. A sandwich could be a luxury for them," The Standard quotes him as saying.

But passing the prison sentence, the magistrate said Mr Avery Ng was "only making up excuses to rationalise his behaviour".

Outside the court, Mr Ng's League of Social Democrats colleague Leung Kwok-hung expressed outrage that one sandwich could be worth three weeks in prison.

"I'm hoping to do an experiment and buy 1,000 sandwiches to see how much they will hurt when thrown at a person," he said.

Reporting by Alistair Coleman

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