Three student activists arrested for breaking into Civic Square last year during the pro-democracy Occupy movement denied charges in court on Wednesday morning and were released on bail.

Scholarism convener Joshua Wong, along with Hong Kong Federation of Students’ secretary general Nathan Law and ex-secretary general Alex Chow, have been charged with taking part in an unlawful assembly. Wong also has an addition charge of inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly.

The three were arrested for breaking into the East Wing Forecourt of the Central Government Office (Civic Square) on September 26 last year. All three have denied the charges.

occupy trio
The three Occupy activists. Photo: 社會民主連線 via Facebook.

The prosecution said that the case involved 51 witnesses—the majority of whom are policemen—and 17 recordings. The case has been adjourned to October 30 and the three were released on bail for HK$500 each, Apple Daily reported.

In addition to the trio, five other protesters were also charged with common assault for allegedly attacking policemen and security guards at Central Government Offices and Legislative Council in September 26 and 27 last year.  All charges were denied and the case was adjourned to October 5.

Chow criticised Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung and told reporters that “it’s clearly a case of political persecution” following his appearance in court.

Wong said that citizens have a right to enter Civic Square and that their actions did not disrupt social order.

Around 20-30 people, including Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun, gathered outside the court in support of the trio.

Karen cheung hong kong

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.