Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong and 10 others to plead guilty to contempt of court in Occupy case
Protesters intend to admit they obstructed clearance of key demonstration site in Mong Kok in 2014
Hong Kong student leaders arrested over the city’s 79-day pro-democracy Occupy protests in 2014 have indicated that they will admit to obstructing the court-ordered clearance of a key demonstration site.
Demosisto secretary general Joshua Wong Chi-fung and former Hong Kong Federation of Students deputy secretary-general Lester Shum, along with nine other protesters, are set to admit that they had committed contempt of court, their lawyers told the High Court on Thursday.
In the present case, a total of 20 demonstrators allegedly obstructed the work of bailiffs acting on a court injunction to clear occupied roads in Mong Kok, a major base for Occupy protesters at the time, on November 26, 2014.
This resulted in the issue of a batch of summonses against them for contempt in April last year. Another group of protesters is facing summonses in a separate case concerning the same clearance operation.
Some of the 20 protesters, including Shum and League of Social Democrats vice-chairman Raphael Wong Ho-ming were in court for a pre-trial hearing on Thursday when their lawyers informed Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai that more than half of their clients would admit liability. Joshua Wong, who was the convener of student group Scholarism when he became the poster boy of the protests at the time, was not present.
Senior counsel Lawrence Lok Ying-kam said seven of the clients he handled, including Joshua Wong, would like to plead guilty when the trial was conducted in July.
“Mr Lester Shum would also like to plead guilty,” he added.
Four more protesters, to be represented by Gerard McCoy SC, will also plead guilty.
They are expected to formally admit their liability during the trial to be commenced on July 3, with mitigation put forth on their behalf.
Mr Justice Chan adjourned for another pre-trial session on June 27 for both counsel from the Department of Justice and protesters to sort out details of evidence they would like to call over the clearance operation, which involved more than 800 police officers.