Occupy nine deny public nuisance charges

Local | 19 Nov 2018 10:54 am

A landmark trial involving nine key Occupy movement figures started today and the prosecution alleged that their actions were "unreasonable" and affected the rights of other people by shutting down a key central area of Hong Kong, RTHK reports.

In his opening remarks, the prosecution's lawyer and senior counsel Andrew Bruce alleged that the defendants had repeatedly urged protesters to "overcram” the Admiralty area for a prolonged period of time.

Their action was "unreasonable” because their actions would cause severe traffic disruption and affect the rights of other people, he said.

Earlier all the nine defendants, including Occupy Central co-founders Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Chu Yiu-ming, pleaded not guilty to the charges in connection with the 79-day protest in 2014.

The Occupy co-founders face one count of conspiracy to cause public nuisance, inciting others to cause public nuisance, and inciting people to incite others to cause public nuisance.

The rest of the defendants, including lawmakers Tanya Chan and Shiu Ka-chun, each face two charges of inciting others to cause public nuisance.

If found guilty, the nine could face prison terms of up to seven years on each charge.

The trial was moved to the more-spacious West Kowloon Magistracy to cater for a larger public audience, and there was a heavy media presence, along with a group of Occupy supporters outside the court.

Several supporters of the activists held a rally outside the court before the start of the trial, which has attracted attention of the global media.

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