Activists Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Alex Chow Yong-kang have been found guilty of taking part in an unlawful assembly, after they stormed Admiralty’s Civic Square in September 2014, kickstarting the pro-democracy Occupy protests.

Nathan Law Kwun-chung has been found guilty of inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly, whilst Wong was found not guilty of the charge of inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly.

The trio appeared at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday. They have since been released on bail. Sentences will be handed down on August 15 pending a report from probation officers.

Joshua Wong Nathan Law Alex Chow
Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Alex Chow. Photo: Joshua Wong.

They led protesters to storm Civic Square – a fenced-off forecourt in front of government headquarters in Admiralty – on the night of September 26 two years ago. It was previously a public square, but the government decided to close it off following protests.

At the time, Wong was the convenor of student group Scholarism. Chow and Law were secretary-general and a member of the standing committee of the Hong Kong Federation of Students respectively. It is the first time any of the three have been convicted of a crime.

occupy central
File photo: HKFP.

The action occurred after a week of class boycotts at Tamar Park near the government offices, in protest of the decision by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress which stated that Hong Kong’s Chief Executive candidates must be vetted before a popular election.

The action led to dozens of arrests of protesters inside the square, as the police deployed 87 tear gas canisters to disperse thousands of protesters in support outside the square two days later, causing a 79-day protest that occupied main roads of Hong Kong.

Policemen surround the students protesting at Civic Square
Policemen surround the students protesting at Civic Square. Photo: Wikicommons.

Before the verdict was handed down, Wong said outside court that the trio did not regret the decision to take part in the action.

Chow said he was not concerned about having a criminal record.

Hong Kong Umbrella Movement
Hong Kong Umbrella Movement tear gas. Photo: Wikimedia.

He said that the Department of Justice was not only charging the three of them, but all those who took part in the Umbrella Movement Occupy protests, thus they were not alone and not fearful.

Law has submitted his nomination form to run in the Legislative Council election in September as a member of Demosistō – a party he formed with Wong. If given a prison sentence of more than three months, he will be disqualified from running, according to the Legislative Council Ordinance.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.