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Occupy Central

Jailed Hong Kong student activist Alex Chow lodges final appeal

He is one of three imprisoned after prosecutors succeeded in securing tougher punishment for their illegal protest at government headquarters in 2014

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 September, 2017, 11:11am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 September, 2017, 11:40am

One of the three Hong Kong student activists jailed for storming the government headquarters in a prelude to the Occupy movement in 2014 lodged his final appeal on Thursday.

Alex Chow Yong-kang, who is currently serving his seven-month jail term after prosecutors succeeded in securing tougher sentences for the trio, had filed an application, according to a spokesman from the Department of Justice.

“The department received on August 31, 2017, [Chow’s] notice of motion, asking the Court of Appeal to show that the determination of the [present] case involves a point of law of great and general importance,” the spokesman said.

Will Hong Kong protests be tamed by jailing of Occupy trio?

The notice was written to the appeal court, which has to grant Chow the go-ahead to take his case further to the city’s Court of Final Appeal, based on the city’s Court of Final Appeal Ordinance.

For permission to be granted, he must either show that the appeal entails important legal arguments, or that “substantial and grave” injustice was involved. But should the appeal court reject him, Chow can still proceed to the top court by submitting another request.

His solicitor confirmed the appeal application, saying that the team was scrambling to polish further details, and it would be confined to Chow’s sentence.

The jailing of Chow, together with two other student leaders, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Joshua Wong Chi-fung, has sparked controversy, including a protest march attended by thousands earlier this month, with many questioning the city’s judicial independence.

Chow, a former secretary general of the Federation of Students, played a key role as one of the leaders in the 2014 Occupy protests. On August 17, he was jailed along with Wong and Law by an appeal court. The trio received prison terms of between six and eight months.

While Chow and Wong were convicted of taking part in an unlawful assembly, Law was found guilty of inciting others.

They were among protesters who stormed the forecourt of the government headquarters on September 26, 2014, in a prelude to the 79-day Occupy protests which unfolded two days later.

Before their recent sentencing, a lower court had earlier convicted the trio but spared them from jail, stating that a more understanding approach should be adopted towards young people fighting for their ideals.

But the Department of Justice said the community service and suspended sentence imposed would send a wrong message to the public, and pushed for a deterrent sentence, resulting in their current jail terms.