Date
30 March 2017
Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow (from left) escaped prison after the judge noted that their actions were not  motivated by personal gain. Photo: Reuters
Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow (from left) escaped prison after the judge noted that their actions were not motivated by personal gain. Photo: Reuters

Democracy protest leaders escape jail term

Three student leaders have escaped jail terms for their role in the 2014 democracy protests.

Instead, Joshua Wong and Nathan Law were ordered to perform community service, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports .

A third defendant, Alex Chow, received a three-week jail sentence suspended for one year after the judge took note of his impending studies in Britain.

All three pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the street protests that crippled much of Hong Kong at their height.

They said they will appeal their convictions and continue their civil disobedience movement.

Wong, 19, former convenor of the defunct student activist group Scholarism, was the face of the so-called Umbrella Movement. 

He sought a judicial review to lower the election age, so he could run in the Sept. 4 Legislative Council elections but his petition was rejected by the High Court.

Law, 23, is chairman of newly formed Demosistō, a political party hived off from Wong’s Scholarism.

Magistrate Cheung Tin-ngan said the three deserved leniency because their actions were not motivated by personal gain or by intent to harm others.

They were merely expressing a sincere demand out of their concern for society and in accordance with their political ideals.

Cheung called them reckless but not violent and said video evidence showed they did not fight with policemen or security guards.

A deterrent sentence would not have been fair as their actions were mild compared with subsequent public disturbances, Cheung said. She did not elaborate.

Also, she said the defendants were respectful to the court and showed willingness to face the consequences of their actions.

The Department of Justice said it will decide whether to follow up on the case after studying the court’s grounds for conviction and the prosecution’s report.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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