Protesters who smashed a door at the Hong Kong legislature during last year’s pro-democracy Occupy protests will now face three-and-a-half months imprisonment instead of 150 hours community service following an appeal by the Department of Justice. The DoJ argued that the original sentence was not heavy enough.

The four defendants, who were charged with criminal damage and taking part in an unlawful assembly, appeared at Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning.

Protesters smashing into Legco. Photo: Apple Daily.

Three were given jail time and released on bail, though their lawyers have said they will appeal the sentence. The fourth defendant’s case has been adjourned to next month in anticipation of a report from the detention centre, as he was only 19 years old at the time of the incident, local media reported.

The incident took place last November, when numerous protesters, including the four defendants, gathered outside the LegCo in response to a false rumour that an “Internet Article 23” bill would be passed that day. The event was considered to be a turning point for the pro-democracy movement, precipitating a split between mainstream democrats and those pressing for more forceful forms of protest.

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Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.