Hong Kong prosecutors seek prison terms for new legislator Nathan Law and student leader Joshua Wong
Department of Justice prosecutors say immediate jail term is only option, as it challenges community service sentences handed down to Occupy leaders
Hong Kong prosecutors want newly elected lawmaker Nathan Law Kwun-chung and student leader Joshua Wong Chi-fung to be jailed immediately as they seek to overturn an earlier sympathetic court ruling against the pair over their roles in storming government headquarters two days before the 2014 Occupy protests began.
Wong, 19, and Law – both key figures in the pro-democracy movement two years ago – were sentenced last month by a local court to 80 and 120 hours of community service respectively.
Another student leader, Alex Chow Yong-kang, 25, was given a three-week jail term, suspended for one year.
The three were found guilty by Eastern Court of taking part in an unlawful assembly and inciting others to take part on September 26, two days before the Occupy protests went into full swing.
A Department of Justice spokesman previously confirmed it would review the trio’s sentence, and on Thursday Wong revealed the details on his Facebook page.
“Immediate custodial sentence would be the one and only sentencing option,” Wong quoted the prosecutors’ document he had been given as saying.
According to Wong, the prosecutors argued the trio’s offences were serious and that they were not remorseful.
Watch: Hong Kong student leaders Joshua Wong and Nathan Law charged with obstructing police
Chow confirmed to the Post he had received the same document.
The call for imprisonment comes less than a fortnight after Law, 23, became the youngest candidate ever to win a seat in a Legislative Council election, garnering more than 50,000 votes.
Under Hong Kong law, he could be removed from his legislator’s duties if he is jailed for more than a month. But the Demosisto lawmaker said it was unlikely he would be jailed for that long.
“[The government] wants to repress people who voice different [opinions]. It is definitely a tactic they use to put pressure on me,” Law said.
Wong, Law and Chow, along with others, stormed the east wing forecourt at government headquarters in Admiralty – popularly dubbed Civic Square – setting off wider protests in the name of democracy that lasted 79 days in 2014.
The goal of the movement was to seek talks with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying over Beijing’s rigid framework for the city’s political reform that involved a screening process for the city’s future leader before he or she goes to a citywide poll. The proposed reform was voted down.
In sentencing the trio earlier, Magistrate June Cheung Tin-ngan was reluctant to impose a deterrent sentence, saying the three had expressed their demands based on genuinely held political ideals or concern for society.
Chow on Thursday said the prosecutors’ bid for jail terms was an attempt to support the government’s will and block those who would stand in its way.
“They have been dedicatedly trying to put the three of us behind bars,” Chow said.
A hearing on the case is set for September 21. A spokesman from the Department of Justice said it was not appropriate to comment as the case was ongoing.