Jimmy Lai among three Hong Kong pro-democracy activists convicted over Tiananmen vigil

Hong Kong court rules against media tycoon Jimmy Lai, barrister Chow Hang Tung and former opposition politician Gwyneth Ho

Maroosha Muzaffar
Thursday 09 December 2021 03:59
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<p>File: Founder of Apple Daily Jimmy Lai is one of the three activists that a Hong Kong court found guilty of  unauthorised assembly on 4 June last year </p>

File: Founder of Apple Daily Jimmy Lai is one of the three activists that a Hong Kong court found guilty of unauthorised assembly on 4 June last year

Jimmy Lai, the founder of now-shuttered Apple Daily, is among the three Hong Kong pro-democracy activists found guilty on Thursday of unauthorised assembly over a 4 June vigil commemorating the Tiananmen Square crackdown of 1989.

A Hong Kong court ruled against media tycoon Lai, barrister Chow Hang Tung and former opposition politician Gwyneth Ho.

All three had pleaded not guilty to inciting others to participate in the assembly last year.

The police in Hong Kong has banned 4 June vigils commemorating Tiananmen Square for the past two years citing the coronavirus restrictions.

Mr Lai faces seven years in prison for the charge of incitement to knowingly take part in an unlawful assembly last year. The septuagenarian is already serving 20 months in jail for his role during the 2019 anti-government protests.

District Court Judge Amanda Woodcock on Thursday said in her ruling that Chow Hang Tung and Gwyneth Ho were both found guilty of taking part in an unauthorised assembly. Mr Chow is also convicted of an additional charge of incitement to participate, it was reported.

Last year, thousands defied a ban on assemblies to attend the candlelight vigil for the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. The vigil usually used to attract tens of thousands of people on the anniversary and in 2019, on the 30th anniversary of the crackdown, a record 180,000 people attended the vigil.

Hong Kong passed the national security law last year and some 155 former opposition lawmakers and pro-democracy activists have been arrested under the law.

Mr Lai is facing four charges under the legislation, including conspiracy to collude with foreign forces.

The government had charged 24 people for their role in the vigil last year but Mr Lai, Mr Chow and Ms Ho are the only defendants to have gone to trial.

Five others who had pleaded guilty in the same case will be handed their sentences on 13 December. And others including student activist Joshua Wong have been handed jail terms ranging from four to 10 months. Three were given suspended sentences.

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