Tears as defendants embrace in court

Top News | Phoenix Un 25 Apr 2019

Retired Baptist minister Chu Yiu-ming broke down once he left the court dock upon hearing he was spared imprisonment but not the other two of the Occupy trio.

It was an emotional scene at the court, as the nine defendants embraced each other after their sentencing.

Only five, including Chu, whose jail term was suspended, and Tanya Chan, who has yet to be sentenced, managed to leave the court building. The others were sent to Lai Chi Kok reception center immediately.

"I feel extremely sad for the fact that they are jailed. My heart is with them, and I will do everything I can to give them support, consolation and encouragement," Chu said outside court.

Wiping away his tears, Chu said the Occupy trio had constantly been together since starting planning for the Occupy Central movement.

He cried and was unable to speak at the mention of Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Chan Kin-man, saying the upcoming separation would be the longest that he would have to endure.

Chu said he was most concerned about the four imprisoned leaders and their families, and hoped the public would continue to support the four.

He was applauded by Occupy supporters, who chanted "I want genuine universal suffrage" and "civil disobedience without fear."

Former student leader Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, sentenced to a 200-hour community services order, told people to ask themselves why people struggling for Hong Kong's democracy should go to jail

He said nobody would find prison glorious and enjoyable, but the four defendants, and also many others in the past, were sentenced to jail for agitating for their democratic convictions.

Another former student leader Eason Chung Yiu-wa and former lawmaker Lee Wing-tat, who had their eight-month imprisonment terms suspended for two years, called upon people to join the protest this Sunday against the fugitive law amendment.

After speaking to reporters, the five went to the protest zone outside the court's car park to wait for the correctional services bus taking their four fellow activists to Lai Chi Kok reception center. When the bus arrived, Chu bid a tearful farewell to them.

Upon arrival at Lai Chi Kok, Tai and Chan were the first to disembark, but they put on brave faces before entering the facility.

Raphael Wong Ho-ming and Shiu Ka-chun also raised their arms and waved.

Earlier, many queued hours outside court to witness the landmark sentencing.

The first one in the queue, Lin, said she lined up starting from 7pm to show support for the nine defendants.

"I just came hours earlier, but they may need to be imprisoned for years, so our effort can't be compared with theirs," Lin said.

She also came to hear appeals for mitigation earlier this month: "This is to experience history."

Hong Kong Unison founder Fermi Wong Wai-fun said a street sleeper queued up and gave the ticket to her, asking it to be passed to a family member of the nine defendants.

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