Occupy protest student leaders Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Nathan Law Kwun-chung were released on bail by Hong Kong Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li this morning.
The brief 10-hearing took place at the Court of Final Appeal and drew scores of pro-democracy supporters.
The young activists will be able to return home after two months in custody, pending their appeals to the city’s top court over jail terms that replaced the community service orders they had earlier completed.
The two Demosisto leaders were convicted alongside former student union leader Alex Chow Yong-kang, 27, over their roles at a protest that led to a 79-day occupation of major roads across Hong Kong in 2014, during which protesters demanded greater democracy.
All three completed the community service sentences handed down last year by a magistrate. But in August, after the governement asked for a reveiw, the Court of Appeal found those non-custodial terms inadequate and gave them jail terms instead.
The trio are now appealing against their new sentences. An application for leave hearing has been set on November 7.
Wong, 21, was recently transferred to the low-security Tung Tau Correctional Institution in Stanley to complete his six-month jail term for taking part in an unlawful assembly.
His party chairman, Law, 24, was sent to the medium-security Tong Fuk Correctional Institution on Lantau Island to serve eight months for an incitement charge.
Chow, who is serving a seven-month term at the low-security Pik Uk Prison near Sai Kung for taking part in an unlawful assembly, has yet to apply for bail pending his appeal.
On Tuesday, Ma released Wong and Law on HK$50,000 cash bail, on top of surety from their parents at HK$50,000 each.
Other bail conditions include surrendering their travel documents, residing at their home addresses and reporting to designated police stations once a week.
Prosecutors did not object to bail.
The two student leaders were seen chatting and making jokes during their reunion in the dock, occasionally waving to their supporters.
Outside court, Demosisto deputy secretary general Agnes Chow thanked supporters for writing to the trio in jail and called on the public to show continuous care to “all political prisoners who were sent to jail for participating in civil disobedience movements in Hong Kong”.