Michael Bay has condemned the "harsh" jail sentences given to two brothers who plotted to extort the director while he was filming in Hong Kong.

The Transformers moviemaker was filming the fourth installment of the franchise in the city last year (13) when two locals tried to blackmail him, and hurled an air conditioning unit at him when he refused to hand over the cash.

Mak Chi-shing, 27, and Mak Chi-hang, 28, were found guilty of attempted blackmail and jailed for 30 months and six months respectively in February (14), but Bay believes the sentences were too severe.

During a press conference to promote Transformers: Age of Extinction in Hong Kong on Friday (20Jun14), Bay told reporters, "I personally wouldn't want them to be punished. He (one of them) was on drugs and he probably didn't know what he was doing. I think it was a little stiff, a little harsh."

Local residents apologised to the director after the incident, and Bay admits he was overwhelmed by the support he received in Hong Kong.

He adds, "We had that incident, which messed up shooting for about four hours, and then we carried on. But on my day off, I was walking around one of the malls, and no less than 30 people walked up to me and apologised, and said 'That's not what people do in Hong Kong'. It was the nicest thing in the world. They would never do that in America."

Chi-shing was also convicted of assaulting a police officer during the fracas while Chi-hang was found guilty of resisting police officers.