Nine Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders found guilty
Hong Kong: Nine pro-democracy leaders responsible for the largest civil disobedience movement in Hong Kong’s history were on Tuesday found guilty over their roles in the 2014 protests which called for greater autonomy from China.
The convicted include three founders of the Occupy Movement – Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Chan Kin-man, and the Reverend Chu Yiu-ming. They were found guilty of one count of conspiracy to cause public nuisance, reports the South China Morning Post.
Tai and Chan were also convicted of one count of inciting others to commit public nuisance.
Prosecutors at the West Kowloon Court said that the nine accused caused obstructions by mobilising protesters to block major thoroughfares in the heart of the city almost five years ago in a bid to force authorities to respond to their political demands.
Legislators Tanya Chan and Shiu Ka-chun along with former student leaders Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, and Eason Chung Yiu-wa and League of Social Democrats vice-chairman Raphael Wong Ho-ming were found guilty of one count each of inciting others to incite and one count each of inciting.
Former Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Wing-tat was found guilty of one incitement charge.
All of them face jail sentences of up to seven years for each charge.
The nine defendants were the final group to be tried over the 79-day protests, also known as the “Umbrella Movement”, which they thought could drive political change in Hong Kong.
The 18-day trial, which began last November, featured hours of protest footage and days of police testimony.
The movement that started on September 28, 2014, was sparked by frustration with a restrictive proposal Beijing issued for the election of Hong Kong’s leader. Pro-democracy protesters were upset because the proposal lacked an option that would allow them to nominate candidates.
The unprecedented civil disobedience exercise turned into an occupation that spread from Admiralty to Wan Chai and Central, the city’s prime commercial districts.