Pro-democracy activist Alex Chow has filed an appeal against the sentence review that led to his imprisonment.
He was jailed on August 17 – along with fellow activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law – over their involvement in the Civic Square clash which sparked the 2014 Umbrella Movement protests. The trio had previously been handed community service sentences and a suspended jail term for their unlawful assembly convictions, but the Department of Justice applied for a sentence review. As a result of the ruling, Chow received seven months behind bars, whilst Wong and Law received six and eight months respectively.
The Department of Justice told HKFP that that it had received a notice of motion from Chow on Thursday. The spokesperson said that the notice “seeks a certificate from the Court of Appeal that a point of law of great and general importance is involved in the decision of the case.”
A leave to appeal is granted by the court only in cases where it can be proven that important legal principles have been involved in the decision, or when it is shown that a “substantial and grave injustice” had been done. If Chow’s application is accepted, his case will be heard at the Court of Final Appeal.
Chow’s lawyers said that the application pertained to his jail sentence, but did not reveal the detailed grounds of the appeal. The lawyers said that Wong and Law had not yet made applications for appeal, but that they would discuss the issue with Law during a prison visit on Friday.
The jailing of the protesters prompted criticism from international rights groups and politicians, with some calling them political prisoners. It also sparked concern that the independence of Hong Kong’s courts had been compromised under pressure from Beijing.
On Thursday, the Court of Appeal released the English version of the judgement, which had previously only been available in Chinese.
“In recent years, an unhealthy wind has been blowing in Hong Kong. Some people, on the pretext of pursuing their ideals or freely exercising their rights conferred by law, have acted wantonly in an unlawful manner,” said Judge Wally Yeung in his remarks.
“Certain people, including individuals of learning, advocate ‘achieving justice by violating the law’ and, under this slogan, they encourage others to break the law. These people openly flout the law.”
“It is unfortunate that such arrogant and conceited ways of thinking have influenced some young people and have caused them to engage as they please in activities that are damaging the public order and disruptive of the peace at assemblies, processions or demonstrations,” said Yeung.