Veterans jailed for up to 18 months over 2019 protest - RTHK
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Veterans jailed for up to 18 months over 2019 protest

2021-05-28 HKT 11:54
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  • The activists had all pleaded guilty to organising an unauthorised assembly on October 1, 2019. File photo: RTHK
    The activists had all pleaded guilty to organising an unauthorised assembly on October 1, 2019. File photo: RTHK
Frances Sit reports
Some of Hong Kong's most prominent democracy campaigners were given new prison terms on Friday, this time over an unauthorised protest on October 1, 2019.

Former legislators Albert Ho, Lee Cheuk-yan and Leung Kwok-hung and Civil Human Rights Front convenor Figo Chan received the harshest punishments – 18 months behind bars.

Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai, ex-lawmakers Cyd Ho and Yeung Sum, and former League of Social Democrats chairman Avery Ng were jailed for 14 months.

Former legislator Sin Chung-kai and activist Richard Tsoi received suspended jail terms.

They had all pleaded guilty to organising an unauthorised assembly.

Ng and Tsoi also admitted taking part in the National Day protest, while Chan, Lee, Leung and Albert Ho also pleaded guilty to inciting people to join the protest.

Lai, Lee, Leung and Cyd Ho were last month given prison terms of between eight and 18 months after being found guilty of organising and taking part in an unauthorised assembly on August 18, 2019 that was joined by hundreds of thousands of Hongkongers and passed off peacefully.

Lai and Lee were also given jail sentences over a protest on August 31, 2019.

Some of the new sentences are to be served concurrently.

District Court judge Amanda Woodcock said it had been "naive and unrealistic" for the activists to believe that violence would not break out at the October 1 march, despite their calls for a peaceful procession.

Taking into account "the prevailing tumultuous situation in Hong Kong at that time", the judge said her only option was to give the defendants "deterrent" sentences.

"I do not find a term of imprisonment appropriate, or impose a term of imprisonment, because of or for participating in a peaceful assembly. In any event, the facts show it was not peaceful and the defendants must have been well aware of the very real risk that that line would be crossed as it had so very often in those months and even days before. Despite this, the real risk was ignored and public order jeopardised," she said.

Ahead of the sentencing, some of the activists waved to supporters in the courtroom and chanted "remember June 4", as well as "mourn on June 4, speak out on July 1".

But speaking outside court, Leung's wife admitted that the sentences would have a chilling effect on anyone who hoped to join public events marking the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, or the normally annual July 1 March.
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Last updated: 2021-05-28 HKT 12:33