Economy

HK student activists jailed for contempt of court

HK student activists jailed for contempt of court

Hong Kong: Democracy activist Joshua Wong was sentenced to three months in prison on Wednesday for his role in a protest in 2014 demanding freer elections for the leader of this semiautonomous Chinese territory.

Ahead of the hearing, he said he had no regrets and vowed to keep fighting for democracy.

"They can lock up our bodies but they can't lock up our minds", he said outside the court. Wong and some others in the case had pleaded guilty past year for failing to comply with a court order to clear out of a protest camp during the 79-day "Umbrella Movement" protests in late 2014.

A Hong Kong court sentenced Wong to three months in jail in a contempt case stemming from pro-democracy protests.

Giving his ruling, Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai said it was clear at that time that blocking streets would not change anything but only affect daily lives of the general public.

Both Wongs will file for appeal after the court denied their applications for stay of execution, according to Nathan Law, who like Joshua is a member of the political group Demosisto.

Raphael Wong also received a four-month jail sentence, while Shum received a one-month suspended sentence and a fine.

The umbrellas carried by the protesters became a symbol for the democracy movement in Hong Kong.

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"We want genuine universal suffrage!" he said.

They failed to win concessions and since then leading activists have been charged over their involvement.

He was jailed in August for six months for unlawful assembly for sparking the protests.

In 2014, a package of electoral reforms endorsed by China would have allowed Hong Kong residents to directly vote for their next chief executive in the 2017 election, but only from a list of pre-approved, pro-Beijing candidates.

Wednesday's sentencing came after the High Court heard earlier that the activists remained in an "occupied" zone in Mong Kok on November 26, 2014 even after bailiffs announced the court injunction to the protesters and tried to clear the street with police assistance.

Hong Kong reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 with guarantees of a high degree of autonomy under the "one country, two systems" rule which guarantees press freedom and an independent judiciary.

The government's move was seen as further evidence of Beijing's growing influence over Hong Kong.