Occupy student leader Lester Shum says he is prepared to go to prison as jailed activists Joshua Wong and Raphael Wong appeared before the court on Tuesday morning over contempt charges relating to the 2014 pro-democracy protests.
League of Social Democrats Vice-chairman Raphael Wong, Demosisto’s Joshua Wong, and activist Lester Shum are among 20 charged with criminal contempt of court in relation to the clearance of the Occupy protest site in Mong Kok. Raphael Wong has pleaded not guilty, while Joshua Wong and Shum have admitted to the charges.
Raphael Wong and Joshua Wong were jailed last week by the Court of Appeal over their participation in the Northeast New Territories protests and Civic Square clash respectively.
League of Social Democrats activist Leung Kwok-hung appeared in court in support of the defendants and shouted “Support you, Raphael Wong, hang in there!” Observers in the public gallery also cheered for Joshua Wong and broke into a round of applause.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam told reporters on Monday evening that there were no political consideration or interference involving the Department of Justice, or the court’s decisions to jail the activists.
‘Prepared for prison’
Outside the court, Lester Shum told reporters that he had already been prepared to go to prison, but said his own challenges were not as serious as the much longer or more severe jail terms faced by his friends.
Shum was also critical of Lam’s comments: “Carrie Lam ignored the injustice in society and after she became chief executive, she unseated legislator Nathan Law… as well as five others. At the same time, she jailed two other students who had met with her [during Occupy].”
Activists Nathan Law and Alex Chow were seen leaving the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre in a prison van on Tuesday morning. According to sources cited by RTHK, they have been transferred to Tong Fuk Correctional Institution and Pik Uk Prison respectively. Joshua Wong was taken to the Pik Uk Correction Institution for young male offenders.
The Hong Kong Correctional Services Department said it would not comment on where individuals serve their sentences.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying defended their sentences on Monday, asking whether international critics of the jailings had read the verdict carefully.
“Respecting the rule of law has no difference in terms of the capacity of the people, the place and the country. Double standards should not be practised. We hope that relevant parties can respect the High Court of Hong Kong for dealing with this case in accordance with law and the judicial independence of Hong Kong,” she said.
The League of Social Democrats announced that they have raised over HK$2.5 million from a protest held on Sunday. The sum will go towards the jailed activists, their families, and appeal costs.
Demosisto members Derek Lam, Agnes Chow and Tiffany Yuen set up a street station outside Sogo Department Store at Causeway Bay on Monday evening to voice their opposition towards “political persecution”.