HONG KONG: A mainlander who came to Hong Kong to attack politician Martin Lee will spend the next 16 years in jail.
The sentence against Huang Nanhua, 50, was handed down Friday in the Court of First Instance by Deputy High Court Judge Peter Line.
A jury, in a five to two verdict, had found Huang guilty of possessing a pistol and ammunition.
In pronouncing sentence, Judge Line dismissed mitigating factors in the case. He noted the starting point for sentencing was a 12-year term of imprisonment for possessing firearms and ammunition.
He added that Huang came to target Lee, noting that the motive presumably was related to Lee's daily activities and political work. Judge Line told Huang the court cannot tolerate threats to its political leaders.
Judge Line said the behavior of Huang had seriously damaged the social environment and harmed the perception of Hong Kong as a city in which individuals may feel safe and free to move about.
Though there was no evidence that an attempt had been made to assassinate Lee, Huang's pistol was loaded. And Judge Line said it appeared that Huang's violent conduct would cause harm to someone.
He added the circumstances of the case demanded a lengthy sentence.
Huang came to Hong Kong last August. He was intercepted by police while riding in a taxi. Officers found the pistol, five pounds of ammunition, and mobile phones among Huang's possessions.
A photo of Next Media chairman Jimmy Lai and the office address of Martin Lee were found in his wallet.
Both Lai and Lee have stated they did not believe the plot was politically motivated.
(HK Edition 07/04/2009 page1)