A High Court judge has sentenced a former student activist to three months in jail after finding him guilty of ignoring a court injunction that was issued to help the police clear the streets in Mong Kok during the 2014 Occupy protests.
Alvin Cheng Kam-mun, 28, who founded the now-defunct Student Front in 2014 and is currently vice chairman of the localist group Civic Passion, was handed the prison term on Thursday after he was charged with one count of criminal contempt, to which he pleaded guilty, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Another activist, Au Yuk-kwan, 23, who also pleaded guilty to the same charge, was sentenced to one month in prison but allowed a 12-month probation on top of a HK$10,000 fine.
Both were ordered to pay punitive litigation fees to the Department of Justice.
The court heard that Cheng, also known as “Four Eyes Brother”, who lost his bid to become a lawmaker in the election last September, remained in the occupied zone in Mong Kok on Nov. 25, 2014 even after bailiffs announced the court injunction to the protesters and tried to clear the street with police assistance.
A total of 17 people, including Cheng and Au, were later charged with criminal contempt after they refused to leave the zone covered by the injuction.
In his ruling, Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai said the fact that Cheng wore a mask at that time as well as carried a loudspeaker and a yellow banner suggested he was deeply involved in the street protests and what he did was an open defiance of the court order.
The judge also slammed Cheng for showing no sign of remorse as he not only was late to appear in court but also played with his mobile phone during the trial.
As such, the sentence given to Cheng was appropriate, said the judge, who also rejected the application by Cheng’s lawyer for bail while awaiting appeal and ordered that Cheng must serve his sentence immediately.
As for Au, the judge said he deserved a probation since he had no political connections and his low education level might have led to his incomplete understanding of a court order.
Justice Chan also stressed that freedom of speech must be based on the rule of law, adding that the more serious a contempt of court is, the bigger its impact on the rule of law, Apple Daily reported.
Meanwhile, the 15 other defendants, all of whom denied the charge of contempt of court against them, are scheduled for trial next year.
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