Following the example of the founders of the Occupy Central movement, about 65 pro-democracy activists turned themselves in at the Central Police Station in Sheung Wan on Wednesday, admitting that they had participated in unlawful assemblies.
The surrenderees, aged between 20 and 82, included teachers, students, artists and people from all walks of life, Ming Pao Daily reported.
They joined Occupy Central founders Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Reverend Chu Yiu-ming and Dr. Chan Kin-man as well as Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, who surrendered but were released without any charges.
They said their move was intended to show to the people that they uphold the rule of law in Hong Kong, adding that their personal future was not their primary concern.
Ng Mei-lan, a secondary school teacher, said she was prepared to lose her job. Back in 2010, Ng raised a placard saying “I want the right to elect Chief Executive” to then chief secretary Henry Tang when he visited the school.
Looking back at the incident, Ng said she felt the government might be willing to listen to the people’s clamor for genuine universal suffrage and she wanted Henry Tang to know that sentiment.
But now, she said, it pained her to see the government turning a deaf ear to the people’s call even though thousands are out on the street to voice their dissatisfaction.
Citizen Chow Chi-lai, who showed up with his wife, said he was prepared to face a jail term of two to three years. The couple has been staying at the Admiralty protest site since the Occupy campaign began in late September.
Wong Kee-kwan, a political cartoonist better known as Zunzi, said he has stayed at the occupy protest sites on many occasions and he can be prosecuted for taking part in illegal assemblies.
He said he wouldn’t mind if they were found guilty and given prison terms. “As long as it’s not the death sentence,” he quipped.
Wong said the possibility that they would be jailed was low, but if they were, “even the airport would not be enough to house all of us”.
Tai said he hoped their action would prompt people to think about the meaning of the Occupy movement, adding that he expected more people to turn themselves in.
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