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Hong Kong activists jailed for role in 2014 protests

19 January, 2018, 01:58 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • Lester Shum Raphael Wong and Joshua Wong

Along with fellow protest leaders Nathan Law and Alex Chow, Wong was sentenced to several months in prison in August, in a revised ruling viewed by many as politically motivated.

Wednesday's jailings are seen as part of a broad crackdown on protesters who joined the Umbrella Movement, and scores more could go to jail in coming weeks in what activists reckon is an attempt to smother the democracy movement.

High Court Judge Andrew Chan said in Wednesday's ruling that Joshua Wong's "involvement in obstructing the clearance operation was deep and extensive", adding that he played a leading role.

Wong Ching-tak, the current union president, said the union's role in social movements and the threat of arrest had put off many applicants, stating that "not everyone is willing to stand at the front".

After the sentence, both activists had sought a suspension of the sentence, hoping to file an appeal against it.

This is the second prison sentence related to the 2014 that Wong is serving and he had been on bail pending an appeal against another six-month term in a separate case linked to the protests. Umbrellas became a symbol of defiance after protesters used them as shields against police pepper spray and batons. "The only appropriate punishment for Mr Wong is immediate imprisonment".

"A few months' jail term has a limited impact on these secessionists, and the judge also can't prevent more youths from following these activists", he said.

While a spirited young generation has given Hong Kong's flagging push for democracy fresh impetus, some 100 key activists have, or could be, jailed in upcoming trials, in what critics say is an attempt to counter the movement's momentum.

According to Chan, Raphael Wong also said he fully supported the pro-democracy candidates and urged everyone to set up street stations.

"They can lock up our bodies, but they cannot lock up our minds", Wong, a leader of the political party Demosisto, told reporters outside the High Court in Hong Kong before his sentencing.

Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 with guarantees of a high degree of autonomy under the "one country, two systems" rule which guarantees press freedom and an independent judiciary.

The by-elections will be held on March 11 to fill four seats vacated by lawmakers disqualified over their oaths of office.



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