Hong Kong’s “Father of Democracy” Martin Lee was handed a jail sentence of 11 months, suspended for 24 months on Friday for organising and participating in an unauthorised assembly in 2019, whilst pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai received 12 months behind bars.
Lee, the founder of the Democratic Party, was among nine democrats convicted of organising and participating in a unauthorised protest on August 18, 2019, where thousands of demonstrators gathered in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and marched peacefully to Chater Road in Central.
The 82-year-old appeared in the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts alongside Vice-chair of the Labour Party and ex-lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, who received 12 months behind bars. Other ex-lawmakers who were jailed immediately include Leung Kwok-hung, who faces 18 months in prison, Cyd Ho who received eight months and Au Nok-hin, who was handed 10 month behind bars.
Ex-lawmaker and barrister Margaret Ng was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 24 months whilst ex-lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung received eight months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. Another ex-lawmaker, Albert Ho, was handed 12 months behind bars, suspended for 24 months.
All but Au and Leung Yiu-chung pleaded not guilty to the offences. Leung only admitted to taking part in the unauthorised assembly at the beginning of the trial and the prosecution did not proceed with the organising charge.
‘Peaceful and orderly’
District Court Judge Amanda Woodcock heard mitigations from seven democrats on Wednesday morning. Some defence lawyers urged the court to consider alternatives to a jail sentence, saying the public procession in question was peaceful and orderly. Others asked Woodcock to consider imposing a suspended sentence.
Defendant Margaret Ng, who is a barrister, discharged her lawyer and addressed the court with a eight-page personal statement. The 73-year-old said she had to “stand up for” the people of Hong Kong whom she described as peace-loving and well-disciplined.
More to follow.