Young Hong Kong activist Wong gets second prison term

AP News
Posted: Jan 17, 2018 12:18 AM
Young Hong Kong activist Wong gets second prison term

HONG KONG (AP) — A Hong Kong court sentenced democracy activist Joshua Wong to three months in prison Wednesday for contempt, his second prison term stemming from his role in the 2014 "Umbrella Movement" protests.

The 21-year-old Wong and another defendant were immediately taken into custody at Hong Kong's High Court, while 14 others, including another prominent former student leader, Lester Shum, received suspended sentences.

"Keep it up, everyone!" Wong called out to the court before officers escorted him away.

Ahead of the hearing, he said he had no regrets and vowed to keep fighting for democracy. "They can lock up our body, but they can't lock up our mind," he told reporters.

It's the latest legal setback for Wong, who has been involved in multiple court cases in the aftermath of the protests including one that also resulted in a prison sentence, which he's appealing.

In Wednesday's case, Wong had pleaded guilty last year for failing to comply with a court order to clear out of a protest camp blocking a main road during the 79-day protests that were held to oppose Beijing's plans to restrict elections for the top leader of the semiautonomous Chinese city.

High Court Judge Andrew Chan said in the ruling that although Wong only stayed in the camp briefly, his involvement in obstruction was deep and extensive. "He played a leading role on that day. In view of his overall involvement, I am of the view that the only appropriate punishment for Mr. Wong will be one of immediate imprisonment."

Wong helped lead the protests while still a teenager and gained global attention as a result.

Last year he served about two months of a six-month sentence in a separate unlawful assembly case, before being granted bail so he could file an appeal in a hearing on Tuesday. But the judges in that case are not expected to issue their ruling until a later date.