Global Times reporter Fu Guohao's attackers sentenced to jail; justice rightly served
Published: Jan 08, 2021 04:11 PM Updated: Jan 08, 2021 06:11 PM

Hong Kong rioters tied Global Times reporter Fu Guohao to an airport trolley and beat him after falsely claiming he was a fake reporter. File Photo: AFP

Global Times reporter Fu Guohao's three attackers at the Hong Kong airport in 2019 were sentenced to jail for four years and three months, five years and three months, and five years and six months, respectively, on Friday. The sentences were the most severe punishments handed out since the Hong Kong anti-government riots began in 2019, legal experts said. 

Chinese legal experts told the Global Times that they welcomed the jail terms, considering they met their expectations as the most severe punishment related to the Hong Kong riots in 2019, and that justice has been rightly served.

Fu, a reporter for the Global Times website, was attacked by rioters at the Hong Kong airport on August 13, 2019, while on normal reporting duties.  

Radical protesters at the airport beat him and tied him up, claiming that he had taken photos of them. Rioters told other reporters at the terminal that they searched Fu's bag and found a T-shirt with a banner saying, "I love Hong Kong Police," so they attacked him.

A Hong Kong court found the three suspects that illegally detained and wounded Fu guilty of rioting and assault on Wednesday. 

Following a thorough investigation, the Hong Kong Police Force Commercial Crime Bureau identified and arrested four people suspected of taking part in the riots at the airport that night, finding a number of weapons inside one defendant's car, including claws, metal marbles, telescopic sticks and military pocket knives, according to people familiar with the case. 

The three suspects were sentenced by the court on Friday to four years and three months, five years and three months, and five years and six months in prison, all in immediate imprisonment, according to the court ruling. 

Fu was imprisoned and abused for nearly 50 minutes that night. If a demonstrator lost control and used lethal force with a weapon, the situation inside the airport would have become chaotic, according to people familiar with the situation.

The riots at that time seriously threatened public order and safety. The court pointed out that this case is a severe case of rioting with serious circumstances, so a deterring sentence must be given to ward off others from similar behaviors.

"This is great, and I believe it's also the most severe punishment since the anti-government protest in Hong Kong in 2019," Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, solicitor of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Friday. 

It echoed some other legal experts and observers of Hong Kong affairs who also believed the sentence met their expectations and that justice has been rightly served. 

The sentencing might have also reflected the seriousness of the case, because it occurred at Hong Kong airport, a window to the city that has long been known as an international financial and business hub. The rioting activities at the airport made many people question whether Hong Kong was still a safe place to visit.