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Hong Kong's disaffected youth

Prosecutors seek tougher punishment for youth leaders of Occupy protests Joshua Wong and Nathan Law

Move comes after pro-Beijing lawyer Junius Ho’s a letter to justice minister complaining of ‘grossly inadequate’ sentence

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 August, 2016, 11:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 September, 2017, 12:48pm

Hong Kong prosecutors are going after student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung, aspiring lawmaker Nathan Law Kwun-chung and a third student leader following a sympathetic court ruling that spared them jail terms for storming government headquarters in Admiralty two days before the 2014 Occupy protests.

A Department of Justice spokesman confirmed on Monday that it had asked the Eastern Court magistrate who gave the trio community service and suspended sentences on August 15 to review the punishment.

Wong, 19, the poster boy of the Occupy movement, was sentenced to 80 hours of community service after magistrate June Cheung Tin-ngan avoided imposing a deterrent sentence, saying the three were young pro-democracy student leaders who had expressed their demands based on genuinely held political ideals or concern for society.

Law, 23, and Alex Chow Yong-kang, 25, both key figures in the road blockades of 2014, were also spared jail and given 120 hours of community service and a three-week jail term suspended for one year, respectively.

The three were found guilty of taking part in an unlawful assembly and inciting others to take part on September 26, two days before the Occupy protests hit the city.

Wong, Law and Chow, amongst others, stormed the east wing forecourt at government headquarters – popularly dubbed Civic Square – setting off wider protests in the name of democracy.

During the trial, they said they were trying to seek talks with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying over Beijing’s rigid framework for the city’s political reform.

Law and Wong, former convenor of student activist group Scholarism, have since formed new political party Demosisto, with Law eyeing a Hong Kong Island seat in the Legislative Council elections on Sunday.

The prosecutors’ move came after pro-Beijing lawyer Junius Ho, also a candidate in the elections, wrote a letter to the city’s justice minister, complaining about the sentencing being “grossly inadequate”.

A Demosisto spokesman said on Monday this showed “the government is colluding with the pro-establishment camp to clamp down on students”.

Chow accused the department of campaigning for Ho. He said he was not surprised that the government would challenge the ruling of a judge with a more lenient and understanding attitude towards student activists.

Wong also filed an appeal against his conviction on Monday.

Law and Ho are both vying for a Legco seat. Click for a full list of candidates.