5 Occupy protesters in Hong Kong found guilty of contempt of court in trial earlier disrupted by photo-taking incident involving mainland Chinese woman
Case drew widespread coverage in May after woman caught taking photos while prosecutors played videos showing five respondents at Occupy site in Mong Kok
Five more Hongkongers were on Friday found guilty of contempt of court for breaching an order to clear an Occupy protest site in 2014, taking the number of such convictions to 37.
The politically charged trial drew widespread coverage in May when mainland Chinese woman Tang Lin-ling was caught taking three photos in court while prosecutors played videos showing the five respondents at the scene of a clearance operation during the civil disobedience campaign for greater democracy.
In a 17-page judgment, Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai found all five respondents were guilty of breaching a High Court injunction obtained by a public light bus company to clear Argyle Street in Mong Kok on November 25, 2014.
The court order was among several injunctions obtained by taxi and minibus drivers complaining their livelihoods were disrupted by protesters, who blocked thoroughfares in response to Beijing’s restrictive political reform framework handed down on August 31 that year.
Chan concluded that the five respondents’ continued presence in the area encouraged others to stay and demonstrated a clear intention of flouting the court order, which amounted to a serious interference with the administration of justice.
The five – Siew Yun-long, Man For-on, Yung Yiu-sing, Chan Pak-tao and Lou Tit-man – will be sentenced at a later date, along with 10 others who had pleaded guilty earlier.
The common law offence carries no maximum sentence but can range from a fine to a jail term.
Twenty-two men and women guilty of breaching court injunctions during the clearance in Mong Kok have been given either suspended sentences, HK$10,000 fines or jail terms of up to 4½ months.
They included key Occupy figures such as Demosisto secretary general Joshua Wong Chi-fung, who was jailed for three months, and fellow student leader Lester Shum, who received a suspended jail term.
Tang’s actions led to a trial for herself, and resulted in the first criminal contempt of court case on unlawful photo-taking to come before the High Court.
She was found guilty, sentenced to seven days in jail and then deported.