Thirteen activists who took part in a demonstration against the government’s funding request to develop the northeast New Territories were found guilty of unlawful assembly at the Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
The defendants, including League of Social Democrats Vice-Chairman Raphael Wong Ho-ming, Land Justice League convenor Willis Ho and activist Billy Chiu, were charged in relation to a protest last June outside the Legislative Council complex.
Magistrate Jason Wan said that footage showed one of the defendants forcing the glass doors open with bamboo sticks and breaking apart security barricades, thereby causing disorder and startling staff at the Legislative Council, making them fear for their safety. They also caused damages of over HK$420,000.
The magistrate ruled that this proved all the defendants had taken part in an unlawful assembly. However, they were acquitted of attempted forcible entry, as the charge was similar in nature. City University student Leung Hiu-yeung was also charged and convicted of obstructing a police officer.
Willis Ho told the court that she did not regret her actions, and she was willing to pay the price for civil disobedience—be it fines, community service or jail time. Raphael Wong also said that he had no remorse and would not beg for forgiveness. He said that he was not afraid of prison or confrontation; instead, he feared injustice and silence.
The case has been adjourned to February 19 for sentencing. The defendants will be released on bail while the court awaits their probation and community service reports.