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Hong Kong court extends Joshua Wong's jail time for 2019 pro-democracy protests

ANI | Updated: Apr 14, 2021 23:37 IST

Hong Kong, April 14 (ANI): Joshua Wong, one of Hong Kong's democracy activists and among 47 people charged under the draconian national security law, was sentenced to four months in jail on Tuesday for unauthorized assembly and violating an anti-mask law.
According to South China Morning Post, the Eastern Court on Tuesday sentenced Wong on charges arising from a Hong Kong Island demonstration on October 5, 2019, when hundreds of people marched from Causeway Bay to Central in protest against a government-imposed mask ban, which came into effect that morning.
City leader Carrie Lam had invoked a colonial-era emergency law, on the grounds of public danger, to prohibit facial coverings at demonstrations in a bid to quell months of anti-government protests, sparked by a now-withdrawn extradition bill.
South China Morning Post further reported that this year, in January, Wong pleaded guilty to knowingly taking part in an unauthorised assembly and using a facial covering at an unauthorised assembly.
Wong's lawyer, Jeffrey Tam Chun-kit, urged the court to pass a lenient sentence, such as a fine or suspended jail time, in view of the peaceful nature of the march.

"He did not wear the mask to conceal his identity; he was only there to protest," Tam said, according to South China Morning Post. "He was not there to commit violence or evade criminal liability."
The activist is already serving a 13 and a half month prison term for incitement and organising an unauthorised assembly over a 15-hour siege of police headquarters in Wan Chai on June 21, 2019 since December last year.
But Wong is set to plead guilty to still more charges at the end of this month in a separate case connected to his role in an assembly on June 4 last year, when residents defied a government ban on gathering in public and flocked to Victoria Park to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.
Wong disbanded his pro-democracy group Demosisto in June, just hours after China's parliament passed national security law for Hong Kong, bypassing the city's local legislature.
The law barred Wong and a number of other candidates from standing for elections that were due to be held in September but were postponed due to the coronavirus. Several of those disqualified were sitting lawmakers, who were subsequently ejected from the parliament by Beijing overruling constitutional precedent and bypassing Hong Kong's courts on November 11, sparking the mass resignation of the entire pro-democratic camp.(ANI)