Birmingham & Black Country

Tory slap: Chinese journalist sentenced for delegate assault

Linlin Kong Image copyright CCTV-13
Image caption A judge said Linlin Kong reacted 'in the heat of the moment'

A journalist has been convicted of slapping a Conservative delegate and given a conditional discharge.

Linlin Kong, a reporter for China's state broadcaster CCTV, struck Enoch Lieu during a fringe event at the Tory party conference in Birmingham.

A judge said she "lost her cool professionalism in the heat of the moment."

Kong, 49, of King's Cross, London, had denied common assault, claiming she was manhandled first.

Mr Lieu, a Newcastle-under-Lyme Conservative member, had told Birmingham Magistrates' Court the correspondent slapped him and also later struck his elbow after she accused conference panellists of trying to "separate" China.

The slap was carried out with such force it was heard by another delegate eight seats away on 30 September 2018, the court heard.

Mr Lieu asked Kong to leave Birmingham's International Convention Centre after her outburst, in which she also allegedly labelled panel members "puppets".

He denied laying a hand on Kong, instead telling the court he asked her "in a neutral tone" if she could "please leave".

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The incident happened at the 2018 Conservative Party conference at Birmingham's ICC

Delivering his verdict, District Judge Shamim Qureshi told the reporter she had responded in two ways.

"The first was by slapping Mr Lieu, and the second was by later pushing his arm away," he said.

"The first clearly amounts to a criminal assault, but the second does not.

"In my view, it was in the heat of the moment that the defendant lost her cool professionalism as a journalist and instead became an impassioned heckler."

Kong was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs, a victim surcharge and £100 compensation, which totalled £2,115.

Her barrister, Timothy Raggatt QC, told the judge she would appeal both the conviction and sentence.

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