Joshua Wong

Hong Kong Occupy activist Joshua Wong denied bail after being sentenced to three months’ jail for contempt of court

Fellow activist Raphael Wong jailed for four months and 15 days; student leader Lester Shum and 13 others given suspended sentences

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, 10:37am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 January, 2018, 12:11am

Dissident Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong Chi-fung, having barely tasted 2½ months of freedom, was jailed again on Wednesday for three months over the 2014 Occupy protests, this time for contempt of court.

Out on bail pending the outcome of his appeal against an earlier prison sentence, Wong was put behind bars for a second time over a separate case for obstructing the court-ordered clearance of an Occupy protest site.

Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai of the High Court also jailed another activist, Raphael Wong Ho-ming, vice-chairman of the League of Social Democrats, for four months and 15 days for the same offence.

The pair applied for bail pending a new appeal, but were taken immediately into custody after the judge ruled that he had no power to grant them bail.

Mr Justice Chan said they had played either a “leading” or “significant” role in blocking the clearance of a major protest site in Mong Kok on November 26, 2014. They had defied a court order, secured by a local drivers’ group, requesting occupiers to leave the scene.

Another student leader, Lester Shum, was given a suspended sentence, along with 13 others. The suspended sentences ranged from one to two months, while some were also fined HK$10,000 or HK$15,000.

Joshua Wong shook Shum’s hand before being taken away from the dock.

“Let’s keep it up,” he told supporters in the public gallery. One woman in the crowd sobbed and cried out: “I want universal suffrage.”

The judge inquired about the grounds of appeal for the pair, given he had already considered the request by Joshua Wong’s lawyers not to sentence him to more than three months in jail.

Lawrence Lok Ying-kam SC, for Joshua Wong, previously said that any jail term greater than that would affect Wong’s chance to stand for election to the legislature.

Before he was taken away, Wong threw his support behind Agnes Chow Ting, a fellow member of his political party Demosisto, who was in the public gallery to root for him.

“I will vote for you in jail,” he told her, referring to Chow’s expected candidacy in the coming Legislative Council by-election in March.

Joshua Wong and fellow Occupy Hong Kong student leaders made to wait as top court reserves judgment on jail terms appeal

The poster boy of what is also known as the umbrella movement fired a parting shot at the government: “You can lock up our body, but you can’t lock up our mind.”

A prison van took the pair to Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre, from where they were to be sent to their designated prison.

While Joshua Wong, 21, will appeal against his sentence, Raphael Wong, 29, will challenge both his conviction and sentence, according to fellow activists.

The ruling came just a day after Joshua Wong’s lawyers made a last-ditch appeal to Hong Kong’s top court over another case, urging it to take into account that protesters were fighting for a cause they considered to be noble.

He was jailed for six months in that case for storming the government headquarters compound at Tamar during an illegal protest that effectively launched the Occupy road blockades.

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Those who were sentenced on Wednesday were among 20 charged with contempt of court after refusing to leave the Mong Kok protest site in 2014. The 16 defendants were aged between 18 and 65 at the time, most of them below 25.

Four others were given one-month suspended jail sentences in November last year, along with HK$10,000 fines.

A score of supporters, including disqualified lawmakers “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and Edward Yiu Chung-yim, chanted slogans outside court.

Shum said acts of civil disobedience were a right bestowed upon citizens to challenge an authoritarian regime, and jailing protesters went against the concept of democracy.

Raphael Wong said the government under the former administration should be held accountable for contempt of court instead, as it had turned the judiciary into a “political tool”.

The 79-day civil disobedience movement for greater democracy, which brought parts of the city to a standstill, was triggered by Beijing’s restrictive framework on political reform in Hong Kong.

As activists occupied major roads, taxi and minibus drivers complaining of business losses secured a court order to clear protest sites in Mong Kok. After bailiffs were sent to clear a key site on Nathan Road, the 20 protesters were arrested when they refused to leave.

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While nine of them, including Joshua Wong and Shum, pleaded guilty to contempt of court, the remaining 11, who denied the offence, were subsequently found guilty in the contempt of court trial.

In his ruling on Wednesday, the judge said their continued blockade had affected the lives of other ordinary citizens, who had “parents to support” and “mortgage and rent to pay”.

The 16 who attended court on Wednesday (all ages at time of offence)

Chau Wan-ying, 21, undergraduate, one month’s jail suspended for 12 months

Chu Wai-lun, 21, cook, one month’s jail suspended for 12 months, HK$10,000 fine

Chu Pui-yan, 23, account clerk, six weeks’ jail suspended for 12 months, HK$15,000 fine

Kwok Yeung-yuk, 19, university student, six weeks’ jail suspended for 12 months, HK$15,000 fine

Lester Shum, 19, Legco member’s assistant, one month’s jail suspended for 12 months, HK$10,000 fine

Chiu Chi-sum, 65, maintenance worker, two months’ jail suspended for 18 months, HK$15,000 fine

Chan Po-ying, 58, policy researcher, two months’ jail suspended for 18 months, HK$15,000 fine

Cheung Kai-hong, 27, computer technician, one month’s jail suspended for 12 months, HK$10,000 fine

Kwan Siu-wang, 23, freelance photographer and designer, six weeks’ jail suspended for 12 months, HK$15,000 fine

Hung Cheuk-lun, 24, baggage handler, six weeks’ jail suspended for 12 months, HK$15,000 fine

Fung Kai-hei, 30, hotel waiter, six weeks’ jail suspended for 12 months, HK$15,000 fine

Choi Tat-shing, 18, barista, one month’s jail suspended for 12 months, HK$10,000 fine

Jason Szeto Tsz-long, 20, Legco member’s assistant, six weeks’ jail suspended for 18 months, HK$10,000 fine

Joshua Wong Chi-fung, 18, university student and Demosisto secretary general, three months’ jail

Mak Ying-sheung, 33, project manager in toy industry, six weeks’ jail suspended for 12 months, HK$15,000 fine

Raphael Wong Ho-ming, 26, community organiser, four months and 15 days’ jail