Hong Kong: Accomplice Sentenced for Involvement in Attacking Falun Gong Practitioner
The West Kowloon Court in Hong Kong announced a verdict on January 26th for a crime committed in 2019 in which two men brutally beat a Falun Gong practitioner. Ke Yanzhan was sentenced to two years and nine months for acting as a lookout during the attack. Two suspects believed to be the assailants Mr. Ke was helping have been charged but have not been convicted.
Ms. Liao Qiulan and two other Falun Gong practitioners visited the Cheung Sha Wan police department on September 24th, 2019, to discuss an upcoming October 1st parade. When they left the police station two masked men dressed in black attacked Ms. Liao. One hit her head, and the other struck her body. Ms. Liao suffered severe bruising and a gash to her head that bled profusely. After being taken to a hospital, she needed five stitches to close the two-inch gash on her head.
Lookout Person Arrested by Chance
Ke, 22, is a Hong Kong Triad (organized crime group) member who works at the same bar as the two other defendants—Chen Jiaming and Wang Shujie. Before the attack, witnesses observed him loitering near the Cheung Sha Wan Police Station.
The police’s search of Ke’s cellphone revealed two pictures of the Ms. Liao; both WhatsApp and Zello, a walkie talkie and messaging app, had incriminating group messages with the other two suspects such as “Cheung Shun Street subway station” and “target is out.” The presiding judge pointed out that the information coincided with the time and location of the attack.
Citing precedent cases, the judge declared Chen and Wang could not be convicted based on evidence in Ke’s cell phone alone. However, he stated their behavior was also suspicious and they could not be ruled out as suspects. In addition, Wang left Hong Kong for mainland China the day after the attack.
Judge: An Organized and Planned Attack
The trial of Ke Yanzhan started on October 4, 2021, and lasted nearly four months. Xu Zhaoqiang, Deputy Judge of the West Kowloon Court, convicted Ke of “wounding with intent” and sentenced him to two years and nine months on January 26, 2022.
According to the judge, the attack was premeditated. Someone was in charge of ordering the attack, monitoring the victim at the police station, the attack itself, and driving the get-away car.
Repeated Harassment by CCP Agents
After Ms. Liao was attacked, Chinese State Security Bureau officials repeatedly threatened her family in mainland China, saying they were going to arrest her in Hong Kong.
After the CCP began to persecute Falun Gong in July 1999, Ms. Liao applied for march and rally permits from the police numerous times on behalf of Falun Gong practitioners in Hong Kong. For years she told her family about being followed or threatened whenever she went out for activities or travel. The harassment and threatening phone calls have been incessant, and her family members have also been harassed. Ms. Liao has not returned home to China for years because she believes it would put her family in danger.
In July 2016, CCP agents poured red paint on her head during an event to end the persecution. Afterward, she received threatening phone calls with one caller stating, “Better stop these [Falun Gong] activities; you won’t be so lucky next time.” “If you go on like this, you will be sorry, and we will hit you hard,” was the message in another phone call. She has since left Hong Kong for her safety.
Stephen Char Shik Ngor, former Senior Assignment Officer for the Independent Commission Against Corruption of Hong Kong (ICAC), said he hoped the Hong Kong police could put more resources toward investigating this incident as attacks on peaceful Falun Gong practitioners have a long-term impact on Hong Kong’s stability.
There have been a number of recently reported cases of Falun Gong practitioners being assaulted by CCP agents in Hong Kong, and several practitioners have been followed or monitored. Ms. Liang Zhen, president of the Falun Dafa Association of Hong Kong, was beaten by masked thugs right before a World Falun Dafa Day celebration in May 2021.
Ngor commented that Falun Gong is a lawful organization in Hong Kong, and it is wrong for anyone to threaten or attack them. He added that all Hong Kong residents’ legal rights should be protected, including Falun Gong practitioners.