A group of activists, academics and politicians have set up an independent fund in order to provide assistance to 16 protesters jailed by the Court of Appeal last month.
Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow were sentenced to prison over their participation in the September 2014 clashes at Civic Square, which sparked the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests. Another 13 activists were handed jail terms for demonstrations outside the Legislative Council that took place in response to then-finance minister Ng Leung-sing forcing a vote on controversial development plans while pan-democrats were absent.
The establishment of the Imprisoned Activists Support Fund was officially announced on Monday. The members behind the fund said that it was not affiliated with any political party and operated independently.
The trustees of the fund include barrister Margaret Ng, Dr Hui Po-keung, and To Yiu-ming and singer Denise Ho. The bank account was set up with the assistance of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions.
Ng said there were calls for fundraising to support the jailed activists at the march on August 20, with HK$2.53 million was raised that day alone. Ng said they will continue to raise funds, with the target of hitting HK$4 million.
The money will go towards offering a subsidy of HK$10,000 a month to those jailed. It will also cover daily expenses in relation to prison visits, relevant hearing costs following their release, as well as cover the fund’s operating expenses.
“The incident triggered strong reactions in society; everyone believes that these young people have aspirations, and were doing it for justice rather than for their own benefit. So even though they went to jail with dignity and without complaint, society has a responsibility towards these people,” Ng said.
Former lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung urged the Hong Kong public, as well as all those around the world who were concerned about the jailed activists, to donate. “As I’ve said, in mid-September, there will be a second wave of political prisoners who will face a jail sentence – I’m sure of it,” he said.
Around 200 took part in a protest organised by Socialist Action on Sunday afternoon in support of the imprisoned activists.
It was attended by lawmakers Eddie Chu and Ray Chan, and a number of pro-democracy groups including the League of Social Democrats, Demosisto, and the Neighbourhood and Worker’s Service Centre.