An anti-Chinese Communist Party activist has wiped away tears while detailing the impact of being assaulted by a "brainwashed" assailant near Floriade.
Zhixiang "Nancy" Dong described the "shocking and horrifying experience" in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday, when offender Kang Zhao was fined $3000.
Reading a statement in Mandarin, Ms Dong told the court she had moved to Canberra on a protection visa after being subjected to "brutal persecution" in China.
She said she had been targeted in her homeland for being a member of Falun Gong, a religious movement opposed to the ruling party.
Ms Dong, 55, described being arrested on many occasions in China and, at one point, being sent to a hard labour camp where she was forced to work "extremely harsh" 14-hour days.
Having escaped the country, she said it was now her duty to "expose the [party]'s atrocities" to Australians and make them aware of "the evil nature of the CCP".
That is what she was doing on October 4 last year, when she displayed anti-Chinese Communist Party messages on her car while attending Floriade.
When Ms Dong returned to her vehicle, which was parked in Acton, she found Zhao and Hongwei Qiao spray-painting over the signage.
She started filming the pair and asked them to stop, but they did not.
Qiao eventually ran away but Zhao, who stayed, pulled Ms Dong's phone from her hands.
Ms Dong reacted by grabbing Zhao's wife in an attempt to stop the couple leaving the area, and all three remaining people ended up wrestling on the ground.
Ms Dong's phone was damaged during this process, which ended when a woman unconnected to the incident saw what was happening and yelled out.
The victim reported the incident to police later that day, when she provided investigators with two videos she had filmed on her phone.
Nearly two months later, Zhao, 30, was arrested at Sydney Airport as he prepared to board a plane to China.
He was extradited to the ACT and, after being charged with offences that included robbery and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, remanded in custody.
Zhao spent the next two weeks in "despair", as defence barrister James Maher put it, sleeping on a urine-soaked mattress in Canberra's jail.
He eventually received bail and, following negotiations, prosecutor Colin Balog withdrew the robbery and assault occasioning actual bodily harm charges.
As a result, Zhao pleaded guilty on Thursday to common assault, property damage and defacing private property.
Zhao then went overboard, his counsel said, when he wrestled with Ms Dong in an attempt to defend his wife.
"He is remorseful," Mr Maher said. "He is embarrassed."
The court heard Zhao had lived in Australia for about 10 years but was trying to return to China when he was arrested, with his business having failed.
Mr Maher said his client had since been on a bridging visa, which was due to expire next week, meaning Zhao would soon be leaving the country.
As a result, he said good behaviour orders would have little effect.
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Mr Balog agreed with this and Mr Maher's submission that the threshold for a jail sentence had not been crossed in this case.
He suggested magistrate James Lawton impose fines for each offence.
Mr Lawton did that, describing the time Zhao had spent behind bars as "significant" when the offences would not ordinarily attract a jail sentence.
Ms Dong had earlier told the court she would be prepared to forgive Zhao if he apologised, describing him as "a victim of the CCP's brainwashing education".
Through an interpreter, she told reporters outside court Zhao did say sorry before leaving the building.
"He said, 'I hurt you'," Ms Dong's interpreter told members of the media.
Zhao also issued a statement after the case concluded, expressing remorse for his "impulsive behaviour".
"I am grateful for his honour's findings that I acted excessively to protect my wife and her property in relation to the common assault," the offender said.
"This is a big lesson and something I take very seriously."
The court heard Qiao had previously been issued a criminal infringement notice for his role in the graffiti.
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