The District Court on Wednesday locked up four pro-democracy leaders for terms varying from eight to 16 months over the 2014 Occupy protests, while sparing another four custodial sentences.
Of the nine who were found guilty over the 79-day pro-democracy protests which had paralysed parts of the city, the sentencing of Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan was postponed to June 10 after she informed the court that she is soon going in for surgery over a serious brain condition.
Co-founders of the Occupy Movement, Benny Tai and Chan Kin-man, received the lengthiest sentences – 16 months in jail – for conspiracy to cause a public nuisance, while fellow movement leader Chu Yiu-ming, 75, was given a suspended prison term in light of his health and age.
Tai and Chan Kin-man were also sentenced to another eight months – to be served concurrently – on a charge of inciting others to cause a public nuisance.
Legislator Shiu Ka-chun received eight months behind bars, as did League of Social Democrats activist Raphael Wong.
But like Chu, ex-lawmaker Lee Wing-tat, former student leaders Eason Chung and Tommy Cheung were also spared a prison term.
Former Democratic Party chairman Lee and Chung had their eight-month terms suspended for two years while Cheung was given 200 hours of community service.
Lawmaker Shiu won't be allowed to run in the next Legco election in 2020 if his sentence stands. He may also face the prospect of losing his seat, if two thirds of lawmakers agree to oust him. That is unlikely, however, given the current numbers.
Judge Johnny Chan said before sentencing that custodial terms were the only appropriate punishments for the four, to reflect the seriousness of the offences.
He also said that he took into consideration that the defendants’ motivation did not involve greed, anger or monetary reward, nor did the offences involve violence.
The judge said the protest leaders should express regret for the inconvenience and suffering caused to the public during the protests.
If acted upon, he said, their incitement could have caused excessive damage and inconvenience which wouldn't fall within the parameters of civil disobedience.
Chan Kin-man's wife broke down on hearing the sentences and hugged Chu and his wife, while Wong thanked the judge, who smiled back at him.
The lawyer representing Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Chu Yiu-ming said the trio will appeal their guilty verdicts, as well as Tai and Chan's sentences. The lawyer for Shiu Ka-chun also said his client will carefully consider whether to challenge the court decision.
Last updated: 2019-04-24 HKT 21:30