Student leaders Joshua Wong and Lester Shum are among 11 protesters who plan to plead guilty for criminal contempt of court relating to the clearance of the pro-democracy Occupy protest site in Mong Kok.

In October 2014, a minibus company successfully applied for an injunction from the court to ban demonstrators from occupying streets in Kowloon. The police arrested people who were suspected to have violated the injunction after obstructing bailiffs at the scene in November that year.

A pre-trial review of the case was heard on Thursday. Of the 20 defendants, 11 plan to plead guilty, the defence lawyers said.

Lester Shum Joshua Wong
Lester Shum and Joshua Wong at Mong Kok clearance. File

They included Wong, then convener of student group Scholarism, and Shum, then deputy secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students.

The nine others will not plead guilty, the lawyers said, though they will not deny that they were present. Instead, they will challenge whether their actions constituted contempt of court.

Police notebooks

The prosecution said it will call 33 witnesses. It also said it will not agree with the defence’s request for notebooks of 1,000 related police officers, questioning the use of the notebooks in court. Mr Justice Andrew Chan also questioned the nature of the wide-ranging request.

Cheung Kai-yin of the Democratic Party is among those who plan to plead guilty. Cheung lost in the District Council election in 2015. The law states that anyone sentenced to jail for more than three months will not be able to stand for election for five years.

Another pre-trial hearing will be held on June 27. The case will be heard on July 3.

Alvin Cheng Kam-mun
Alvin Cheng Kam-mun. File Photo: Stand News.

The case is one of two cases in which the Department of Justice has charged 37 people for criminal contempt of court. Although the department failed to deliver legal documents in time, the High Court ruled that the cases would not be withdrawn.

Activist Alvin Cheng of localist party Civic Passion and another activist, Au Yuk-Kwan, pleaded guilty previously to one count of criminal contempt.

In March, Cheng was handed a three-month jail term. Au was given a jail sentence of one month with a suspended sentence of 12 months, and ordered to pay HK$10,000.

The 11 who plan to plead guilty include: Chau Wan-ying, Chu Wai-lun, Cheung Kai-hong, Cheung Kai-yin, Choi Tat-shing, Jason Szeto Tze-long, Ma Po-kwan, Yeung Ho-wah, Wong Lai-wan, Lester Shum, (Joshua) Wong Chi-fung.

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.