Govt not expected to pursue case of nine Occupy leaders

May 03, 2019 14:40
The administration is not inclined to file an appeal regarding the court decision on the case of the nine Occupy leaders, a government source said. Photo: HKEJ

The nine convicted leaders of the Occupy Movement, including co-founders Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, were sentenced on April 24.

The penalties given by the court ranged from community service and suspended jail terms to immediate imprisonment of eight to 16 months. In the case Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan Suk-chong, her sentencing was postponed until June 10 as she was scheduled for urgent brain surgery.

Though some of those convicted were thinking of filing an appeal, there is talk that the government is not inclined towards appealing the court decision.

Some members of the pro-establishment camp thought the judge was too lenient in the sentencing, and urged the administration to make an appeal.

However, a government source has revealed that the period for filing an appeal in relation to the relevant charges has passed, suggesting that the authorities do not intend to go to the courts again over the case.

As some of those convicted plan to lodge an appeal against their convictions or sentences, the government need not take any action, according to the government source.

A figure in the legal sector noted that the three Occupy co-founders were acquitted of the charge of incitement to incite public nuisance.

Under existing rules, if the government requests a retrial of an unsuccessful conviction of a charge, it must file an application within seven days. That seven-day limit has passed, the legal figure said.

The case of the Occupy leaders has provoked a huge public backlash, which partly explains why the April 28 protest spearheaded by the pan-dems against the proposed changes to the extradition laws saw a massive turnout of some 130,000 people.

It is said that many of the people who took to the streets did so to manifest their indignation at the jail terms the four Occupy activists have received.

The high-profile case has drawn a lot of attention from the international community and media, and raised concerns about the deteriorating condition of freedoms and human rights in Hong Kong.

Given that, it isn’t difficult to see why the SAR government has decided not to escalate its legal actions against the nine Occupy leaders.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 1

Translation by Alan Lee 

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.