The court of appeal has granted the Department of Justice leave to appeal against the sentencing of activists Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Alex Chow Yong-kang, and Nathan Law Kwun-chung.

The trio had led protesters to occupy the forecourt of the government headquarters in Admiralty in 2014 – an incident which helped spark the 79-day pro-democracy Occupy protests. Wong and Chow were convicted of participating in an unlawful assembly, and Law was found guilty of inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly on July 15.

Joshua Wong Nathan Law Alex Chow
From left to right: Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, and Alex Chow. Photo: Joshua Wong via Facebook.

Wong and Law were given 80 and 120 hours of community service respectively, while Chow was sentenced to three weeks in jail, suspended for one year, in August.

The government, which previously said in a skeleton argument that “immediate imprisonment is the only suitable sentence,” lost its challenge at the Eastern Magistrates’ Court, where Magistrate June Cheung Tin-ngan said that the court’s reasoning for the original sentence was sufficient.

eastern law court
File photo: Eastern Law Courts Building.

The Department of Justice told the media on Thursday that it had applied for leave to appeal earlier and that it had been approved. The application will follow set procedures for scheduling and the department will not comment further on the case as the judicial process is ongoing, it said.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.