The prosecution in the trial of nine key figures from the 2014 Occupy protests has challenged a claim that only a fraction of the participants of the 79-day sit-ins joined in response to calls by the movement's three co-founders.
A Chinese University poll of 1,200 people carried out at the protest site in Admiralty asked people to rate various options as to their motivations for taking part in the movement, from “very important” to “very unimportant”.
Only 6.5 percent of them said the calls by Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming were very important reasons for them joining the action, and most chose “protecting Hong Kong’s liberty” as their main motivation.
But Director of Public Prosecutions David Leung suggested in the District Court that even for those who said the trio’s calls were “very unimportant” in their consideration, it was still a reason for them to take part.
He said if the calls played no part in the protesters’ decision to take part, they would have simply skipped that question altogether.
But Professor Francis Lee, the journalism scholar who conducted the poll, dismissed this assessment, saying if he adopted such an interpretation of the findings, he would be laughed at by his academic peers.
Meanwhile, a video clip taken by a protester with his mobile phone was played to the court, showing two of the other defendants, legislator Shiu Ka-chun and former student leader Eason Chung, calling on people to leave the protest site in Admiralty shortly after police started firing tear gas at the crowd.
Legislator Tanya Chan, former lawmaker Lee Wing-tat and pro-democracy activists Raphael Wong and Tommy Cheung are also among the nine defendants. All of them deny charges relating to causing a public nuisance.
The parties in the case are due to begin giving their final speeches on Tuesday.