Hong Kong, Aug 15 (IANS) The leaders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, which saw mass rallies in 2014, were sentenced on Monday.
Joshua Wong, 19, who became the teenage face of the protests, was given 80 hours of community service for unlawful assembly. Nathan Law, 23, was sentenced to 120 hours, while Alex Chow, 25, was given a three week prison sentence suspended for a year, BBC reported.
Judge June Cheung Tin-ngan had intended to sentence all three to community service orders but Alex Chow’s sentence was suspended because he needed to study abroad.
The three were facing a maximum of two years in jail.
All three had previously denied the charges, but said they were willing to bear responsibility for their roles in the incident, the South China Morning Post reported.
The judge said their actions were not self-serving but moderate compared with the protests that followed the storming.
Their case centred on a key protest two days before the roads were occupied in 2014, leading to Occupy Central, when student activists stormed the east wing forecourt at government headquarters – unofficially dubbed Civic Square – despite it being closed for security reasons on September 26, 2014.
The court heard Wong encouraged others to enter the forecourt before he climbed over its newly erected three-metre security fence, the South China Morning Post said.
The trio’s arrest helped trigger mass pro-democracy protests, which came to be known as the Umbrella Movement, that brought parts of the city to a standstill for nearly three months.
The movement called on China to allow fully free elections for the leader of the semi-autonomous territory.
However, it failed to win any concessions from China on political reform.