Leader of Hong Kong independence movement found guilty of rioting

HONG KONG – A Hong Kong court on Friday found the most prominent leader of the Chinese-ruled territory’s independence movement, Edward Leung, guilty on one charge of rioting, a verdict that carries a maximum sentence of 12 years’ jail.

The jury did not find him guilty of inciting a riot and failed to reach a majority decision on a second rioting charge.

The closely watched case concerned a 2016 Lunar New Year overnight protest that turned violent when masked activists pelted bricks and burned trash cans to vent anger at what they saw as China’s encroachment of Hong Kong’s culture and autonomy.

About 130 people, mostly police, were injured.

The prosecution argued that Leung played a leading role to incite what they called a riot, but Leung said he was only trying to support hawkers selling street food and protect the people on scene when police used force.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

by Venus Wu