Three Hong Kong pro-democracy student leaders, who stormed the Central Government Complex at Tamar and prompted the Occupy protests in 2014, were given jail sentences of six to eight months by the city’s Court of Final Appeal.
On Thursday, the Court of Appeal jailed Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang for unlawful assembly, which set off the 79 days of the Umbrella Movement on Sept. 28, 2014.
After completing their community service, Wong, 20, and Law, 24, were jailed for six and eight months respectively, while Chow, 27, had his three-week jail sentence replaced by a custodial term of seven months, the South China Morning Post reported.
The ruling against the trio stemmed from a weeklong boycott — which started on Sept. 22, 2014 — to protest against Beijing’s plan to restrict how Hong Kong elects its top official or chief executive.
“To treat long-standing and effective laws as unreasonable restrictions obstructing the freedom of expression, and to feel good about it after breaking the law as one wishes – such conduct does not allow the court for any reason to handle it with excessive leniency,” said Justice Derek Pang Wai-cheong. “People who hold such views not only break the law in conduct, but despise and transcend the law in spirit.”
The three Court of Appeal judges said their crime was serious and called for heavier punishment to prevent such acts from happening again, and to set an example for the public.
Wong, Law and Chow appeared calm as they were given their sentences, which a lawyer involved in the case, Jonathan Man, said they would appeal, according to Reuters.
The jail terms also disqualify them from running for seats in Hong Kong’s legislature for the next five years.
“They can silence protests, remove us from the legislature and lock us up. But they will not win the hearts and minds of Hongkongers,” Wong tweeted out.
They can silence protests, remove us from the legislature and lock us up. But they will not win the hearts and minds of Hongkongers.
— Joshua Wong Chi-fung (@joshuawongcf) August 17, 2017