21 September 2019
Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan leaves a court after her sentencing on Monday, showing evidence of frail health condition. Photo: HKEJ
Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan leaves a court after her sentencing on Monday, showing evidence of frail health condition. Photo: HKEJ

Lawmaker Tanya Chan gets suspended jail term after Occupy case

Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan Suk-chong was on Monday given a suspended prison term by a local judge for her role in the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests.

The democracy activist was given eight months in jail, but the sentence was suspended for two years in view of her delicate health condition.

District Court Judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng said he was granting the two-year suspension due to Tanya Chan’s “exceptional” situation, after considering her health issues.

Tanya Chan was one of nine key Occupy movement leaders who were found guilty by the court in April.

The 47-year-old lawmaker was convicted of two charges against her, namely, inciting others to cause a public nuisance and inciting people to incite others to cause public nuisance.

However, her sentencing was postponed after she informed the court that she would soon undergo surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Chan’s lawyer Wong Ching-yu, a senior counsel, told the court on Monday that since the tumor inside Chan’s brain has not been completely removed, she must receive further treatment in the coming months.

She will undergo 30 radiation therapy sessions, conducted five times a week over the next three months, to prevent the tumor from growing again.

According to the defense lawyer, Chan has shown some complications after the surgery and her condition is not expected to improve for at least six months.

Given the situation, the lawyer asked the court for postponed execution of the sentence given to Chan or a probation, pointing out that Chan has made contributions to society since 2006.

The judge accepted the defense lawyer’s argument, saying it is unlikely that anybody would risk undergoing a brain surgery just to avoid jail time.

The judge added that he thinks it’s best for Chan to choose a doctor for her post-surgery treatment instead of receiving medical care provided by jail authorities.

As for the sentencing, the judge pointed out although Chan did not show any remorse during the mitigation, she still deserved one-month deduction of her jail term considering her good personal character and her public service record of 13 years.

Chan told media outside the court that she is grateful to all the Hongkongers who have given her their blessing, and that she will make a decision on lodging an appeal over the jail term.

Under Article 79 of the Basic Law, the Legco president “shall declare that a member of the Council is no longer qualified for the office” under any of seven circumstances.

One of the circumstances is “when he or she is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for one month or more for a criminal offence committed within or outside the Region and is relieved of his or her duties by a motion passed by two-thirds of the members of the Legislative Council present.”

Asked by media whether Chan will lose her seat, Legco President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said he will follow the Legco’s Rules of Procedure, but there has been no motion moved by a lawmaker.

He added that there may not be sufficient time to deal with any possible motion moved regarding Chan’s qualification in the current legislative session.

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