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Democracy activist in HK gets another jail term

Democracy activist in HK gets another jail term

Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong was sentenced Wednesday to three months in prison for his role in massive protests in 2014, dealing another blow to the pro-democratic youth movement in this semi-autonomous region of China.

They were all sentenced to terms ranging from one month to four and a half months, with some fined HK$10,000 or HK$15,000, the court ordered.

As the judge said he had no power to grant bail to the duo, they were sent to a correctional facility in Lai Chi Kok Wednesday evening to serve time.

But Beijing has ultimate control, and pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong contest it is increasingly clamping down on the city's constitutionally enshrined freedoms. "The only appropriate punishment for (Wong) will be one of immediate imprisonment".

Raphael Wong deserved heavier sentence because he had incited people to disobey the injunction, and because he chose not to plead guilty, Chan said.

Ahead of the hearing, Joshua Wong - who became the teenage face of the Umbrella Movement - said he had "no regrets" about his involvement.

"They can lock up our bodies, but they cannot lock up our minds", Wong told reporters outside the High Court before the ruling was handed down.

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In the ruling, Chief Justice Andrew Chan said although Wong had only been at the protest camp for a short time, his involvement in obstructing the clearance operation was "deep and extensive".

Wong had previously been jailed for six months under the charge of unlawful assembly, in August 2017, for taking part in the "Umbrella Movement". He is now free on bail appealing that ruling.

Wong, who was out on bail on public order charges linked to a separate 2014 incident, had earlier said he was ready to go back to jail. Consequently, they were all guilty of criminal contempt of court.

Another activist, Raphael Wong, was also jailed, while the remaining protesters, including former student leader Lester Shum, received suspended sentences.

The mass street protest, which was known as "Occupy Central", ended with more than 1,000 people being arrested but failed to press Beijing for a democratic reform plan.

Hong Kong has been granted a high degree of autonomy under the "one country, two systems" principle.

Beijing has been further incensed by the emergence of some activists calling for independence for Hong Kong since the failure of the Umbrella Movement to win reform.


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