No regrets as Occupy leaders jailed

Top News | Phoenix Un 25 Apr 2019

The Occupy trio were jailed for up to 16 months yesterday, with Chu Yiu-ming's sentence suspended for two years, over their role in the the 79-day Umbrella Movement which the judge said caused "excessive inconvenience and suffering."

Benny Tai Yiu-ting, 54, and Chan Kin-man, 60, were each jailed after they were convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance and another count of incitement to commit a public nuisance.

Chu was found guilty of a conspiracy charge only.

More than a million demonstrators joined the movement paralyzing Hong Kong in 2014 when they demanded universal suffrage and the right to freely nominate candidates in the chief executive election. Eight of the movement's leaders were sentenced yesterday but not Tanya Chan.

District Court Judge Johnny Chan Jong-hern said at the West Kowloon Magistracy that all eight defendants showed no regret for what they have done.

He said: "By regret, I do not mean the defendants should give up their political beliefs or their political demands. These are not the concerns of the sentencing court.

"By regret, I mean the defendants should express regret for the inconvenience and suffering they had caused to the members of the public who had been affected.It is an apology that the members of the public rightly deserve from the defendants, but never received," he said.

Chan said the seriousness of the charges this time far exceeded past public nuisance cases, "bearing in mind the duration, the number of carriages blocked, and the number of participants."

But he also said the charges faced by defendants did not involve violence, and the motivation was to fight for universal suffrage and protect student leaders. There was "no greed, lust, anger and monetary reward."

Chan gave Chu a suspended sentence as he highlighted his old age and health. He said Chu stood out among the defendants with his 30-year service to society, especially to AIDS patients and drug addicts.

Two other leaders were sentenced to eight months in jail -- lawmaker Shiu Ka-chun, 49, and the League of Social Democrats' Rafael Wong Ho-ming, 30.

Former student leaders Eason Chung Yiu-wa, 26, and former legislator Lee Wing-tat, 63, were given suspended sentences of eight months.

Chung was only 22 when committing the offence, while Lee had dedicated more than half his life to public service, he said.

He also spared former student leader Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, 34, from jail by ordering him to perform 200 hours of community service.

Except for Lee, they were all found guilty on one count of incitement to commit public nuisance and another count of incitement to incite public nuisance.

Lee was convicted on just one count of incitement to commit public nuisance.

The ninth convicted activist, lawmaker Tanya Chan, had her sentencing delayed until June 10 and her bail extended so she can undergo brain surgery for a life-threatening condition.

Before entering the court, Tai said he was "peaceful, calm and hopeful."

"Whatever the court decision will be, I will face that peacefully," he said.

Chan Kin-man called upon citizens to take to the streets on Sunday to protest against the fugitive law amendment, which would facilitate the handing over of fugitives to areas with no extradition agreements with Hong Kong, including the mainland and Taiwan.

"This is to protect 'Two Systems' from being annexed by the 'One Country,'" he said.

Tai, Chan Kin-man, Shiu and Wong were taken by prisoner vehicle to the Lai Chi Kok reception center after the sentencing.

The Tai and Chan will appeal against their conviction and sentence, and Chu against his conviction. Shiu will consider an appeal.

Before this case, former student leaders Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Alex Chow Yong-kang were found guilty of unlawful assembly, and Nathan Law Kwun-chung of inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly for their storming of the Civic Square on September 26, 2014. Their action sparked off the Occupy movement, which started two days later.

Joshua Wong and Law were sentenced to 80 hours and 120 hours of community service, while Chow was sentenced to three weeks' imprisonment, suspended for a year.

phoenix.un@singtaonewscorp.com

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