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HONG KONG – Seven Hong Kong police officers were convicted Tuesday of a lesser charge in the assault of a pro-democracy activist whose videotaped beating during the height of 2014 pro-democracy protests sparked outrage.
A judge found the seven officers guilty of one joint count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in their attack on Ken Tsang. He was part of a group of protesters involved in a pre-dawn clash with police over Beijing's plans to restrict elections for the semiautonomous Chinese city.
The officers, who are due to be sentenced later, face up to three years in prison.
During the scuffle on Oct. 15, 2014, TV news cameras caught officers kicking and punching a handcuffed Tsang in a dark corner of a nearby park.
Tsang himself was convicted last year of assaulting police and resisting arrest in relation to the incident and sentenced to five weeks in prison.
Prosecutors in that case accused Tsang of splashing liquid from a bottle on police as they tried to clear protesters from an underpass next to government headquarters, while Tsang said the charges were politically motivated. The incident occurred during the "Umbrella Movement" protests that brought streets in the Asian financial hub to a standstill for 79 days.
District Court Judge David Dufton said he was satisfied with the prosecution's case that officers carried Tsang by his arms and legs and took him behind a park building, "where he was dumped on the ground and immediately assaulted" by five officers stamping and kicking him while two others watched, according to a press summary of the ruling.
Dufton said Tsang's injuries, including circular reddish bruises on his neck and back, did not amount to grievous bodily harm, a more serious charge that carries a maximum life sentence.
When Tsang was later taken to a police station, he was slapped twice by one of the officers, who was convicted of a separate charge of common assault, which is punishable by up to one year in prison.
Video of beating: https://youtu.be/oGwVXBEvPcs
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