A magistrate on Monday sentenced two ousted pro-independence lawmakers to four weeks in jail for unlawful assembly inside the Legislative Council, government broadcaster RTHK reports.
Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang, 31, and Regine Yau Wai-ching, 26, along with three assistants, were convicted of the charge last month for scuffling with Legco security guards when the two were still lawmakers in November 2016.
They were then trying to force their way into a Legco meeting to retake their oaths of office, after they were banned from the chamber for failing to take oaths properly, the report said.
Magistrate Wong Sze-lai said during sentencing at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts that their actions had “directly damaged the legislature’s integrity”.
All of them were granted bail pending appeals. But three of them, including Yau, then told the court they won’t be appealing, RTHK said.
The pair’s election victory two years ago marked a high for the youth-led “localist” movement, which promotes putting local interests first but carries undertones of Hong Kong independence.
But the two Youngspiration leaders lost much public support after they insulted China while taking their oaths for office, which led Beijing to intervene in an ongoing local court case about their disqualification in late 2016, Reuters said.
“Unlawful assembly” is one of the most common criminal charges faced by activists in the waves of prosecution following the 2014 Occupy protests, where tens of thousands occupied major highways for 79 days to demand full democracy.
Hong Kong’s most high-profile student activist, Joshua Wong Chi-fung, was jailed for roughly two months for the same charge before he was freed in February by Hong Kong’s top court, which warned that future offenders in large-scale unlawful assemblies involving violence would be subject to harsher sentences.
Hong Kong laws define unlawful assembly as one where three or more people conduct themselves in a “disorderly, intimidating, insulting or provocative manner” likely to cause others to reasonably fear “a breach of the peace”.
It is “immaterial” if the original assembly was lawful if the people assembled ended up behaving in such a manner, the law stated.
The maximum jail term for a conviction is five years of imprisonment.
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