Dozens of people who played a key role during the 79-day Occupy movement in 2014, could face charges in the foreseeable future.
These are in addition to the nine people who have been charged, according to an unnamed source.
The three Occupy founders－Benny Tai, Chu Yiu-ming and Chan Kin-man — were charged on Monday with conspiracy to commit public nuisance, incitement to commit public nuisance and incitement to incite public nuisance.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of seven years.
Six others who were also charged with similar offenses on the same day included Civic Party legislator Tanya Chan, social welfare legislator Shiu Ka-chun, former Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) members Eason Chung and Tommy Cheung, League of Social Democrats vice chairman Raphael Wong and former Democratic Party legislator Lee Wing-tat.
They are scheduled to appear in Eastern magistrates’ court on Thursday. It is expected their cases will be transferred to the District Court, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The source told RTHK that the nine people were among 48 who were arrested during the movement.
The rest also face possible indictments once the police complete ongoing investigations and receive opinions from the Department of Justice.
The government’s move came right after Sunday’s chief executive election, sparking suspicions that it was politically motivated.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said all prosecutions were based on decisions made independently by the DOJ and strictly followed Article 63 of the Basic Law.
Civic Party chairman Alan Leong said people who participated in the Occupy movement know the consequences, adding he will defend himself if he is also prosecuted.
Lester Shum, former deputy secretary general of HKFS, told Apple Daily that he is not surprised at the “political liquidation” of pro-democracy activists, including himself, by the government because it aims to use the move to prevent massive street protests from happening again
And Joshua Wong, convenor of the defunct student activist group Scholarism and currently secretary general of political party Demosistō, said it will not surprise him if he is charged but he is not worried.
In response to media inquiries, the police department said it is its duty to maintain law and order as well as to deal with all illegal acts impartially based on evidence.
Eric Cheung, a principal lecturer in the University of Hong Kong, said the reason the police chose causing public nuisance rather than illegal gathering to charge the activists is that the former covers a wider range and requires much less effort to gather evidence.
– Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org