HONG KONG — Joshua Wong, the Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigner, pleaded guilty along with two other activists on Monday to unauthorized assembly charges over a 2019 protest, capping a month of arrests of activists, journalists and politicians in the city.

Mr. Wong, along with Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam, who were all members of the since-disbanded group Demosisto, was immediately jailed by a court in the West Kowloon District and will be sentenced next week.

The cases add to heightened concern in Hong Kong as the authorities press a widespread campaign against dissent.

Over the past year, the police have used more aggressive tactics and social distancing rules to clamp down on a tenacious protest movement that roiled the city last year. Beijing’s move to impose a national security law this summer on the Chinese territory has further cast a chill over pro-democracy activism.

“Perhaps the authorities wish me to stay in prison one term after another,” he said before his court hearing. “But I am persuaded that neither prison bars, nor election ban, nor any other arbitrary powers would stop us from activism.”

Mr. Wong pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of inciting and organizing an unauthorized assembly, for which he faces up to three years in prison. But he has maintained his innocence in a related charge of taking part in an unauthorized assembly.

ImageProtesters gathered near Hong Kong’s Police Headquarters in June 2019.
Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Mr. Wong, 24, rose to prominence as a teenage protest leader during the Umbrella Movement.Last year, days after his release from jail, he spoke outside the Police Headquarters in Hong Kong, where thousands had gathered. He criticized the authorities for characterizing a June 12 protest outside Hong Kong’s legislature as a riot.

“No riots, only tyranny,” he led the crowd in chanting.

Later that day, some demonstrators threw eggs at the headquarters and marked graffiti on the outside walls.

Ms. Chow, 23, who like Mr. Wong was also a key figure in the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, said she was concerned about the prospect of a prison sentence. She pleaded guilty in July to charges of participating in an unauthorized assembly and inciting others to participate that stemmed from the case.

“If sentenced, this will be my first time in prison,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “While I say I have mentally prepared for this, I am still a bit scared.”

Orignially published in NYT.

Small Business Minder
error: Content is protected !!