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Seven men who were part of a white-clad mob that stormed Yuen Long station in 2019 were handed sentences of up to seven years, a verdict that comes two years after an incident widely seen as a turning point in the city’s anti-extradition movement.

All but two of the men pleaded guilty to charges of rioting, wounding with intent and conspiracy to wound with intent.

District Court Judge Eddie Yip called the night’s attacks “pre-meditated” and said the men’s indiscriminate assaults were “just as [if] they had lost their minds.”

The men were sentenced to three-and-a-half to seven years in jail, a punishment that many pro-democracy supporters see as too light given the scale and violence of the MTR station attacks. Dozens of commuters and protestors who were returning from a demonstration in Sheung Wan were beaten by the stick-wielding mob that night, including in the station and inside subway carriages.

Police took more than 40 minutes to respond to calls for help.

Read more: Police spokesperson says protesters to blame for Yuen Long station attack

Several nationalist groups showed up at Wan Chai District Court building to chant slogans and protest the defendant’s sentences, believing them to be too heavy-handed.

One person was seen waving the China flag and yelling profanities, reported HK01. Others bashed District Court Judge Eddie Yip, shouting “dog judge” and threatening to “beat [the judge] up.”

“No Lam Cheuk-ting, No 721,” one banner read, accusing the former pro-democracy lawmaker of instigating the Yuen Long attack. Lam, who went to the station that night hoping to mediate after learning about the mob attack, was among the victims bloodied by the white-clad men. He was charged with rioting in relation to the attack.

Yesterday’s two-year anniversary of the July 21 incident saw a handful of pro-democracy supporters showing up at Yuen Long station to remember the attacks. Dozens of police officers, and at least two police dogs, were on stand-by outside as passerbys were told not to gather due to COVID-19 restrictions.

This article, 7 men jailed by Hong Kong court over role in 2019 Yuen Long attacks, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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