The High Court has found an elderly activist guilty of contempt after she wore a scarf featuring the words “Reclaim Hong Kong” inside court during a trial related to the 2016 Mong Kok unrest.

Alexandra Wong, 62, is a regular participant in protests and social movements. She was convicted on Wednesday and will be sentenced on March 29. She was granted bail on the condition that she will not attend the hearing of the trial before the sentencing date. No bail money was set.

alexandra wong
Activist Alexandra Wong. Photo: Stand News.

The trial involves protesters facing rioting charges over the Mong Kok unrest which broke out after the government’s attempt to clear street hawkers during Lunar New Year 2016. Among them is activist Edward Leung, who in January pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer and has since been remanded in custody.

Wong had been observing proceedings from the public gallery. On Tuesday, guards informed Judge Anthea Pang that Wong’s backpack bore slogans that said “Release political prisoners” and “Oppose mainlandisation.” Judge Pang then reminded audience members that displaying banners is not allowed in the court.

Prior to the commencement of the trial on Wednesday, Judge Pang told Wong that she was wearing a scarf with a slogan on it, and that such behaviour already constituted contempt of court, Stand News reported. Wong refused to leave the courtroom and had to be escorted out by a number of security staff.

high court
File photo: In-Media.

Wong was previously barred from sitting inside the courtroom for the hearing after she yelled out in the midst of court proceedings earlier in January. However, she was still allowed to watch a live broadcast from the lobby – an area which is treated as an extension of the courtroom.

Wong questioned whether the court was convicting her on the basis of speech. She also said she did not believe she was “displaying” a banner and added that she often wore clothes and accessories with slogans on them.

Wong later told reporters that she has been urged by lawyers not to return to the court so as not to create more pressure upon the defendants.

Those convicted of contempt can face a fine or jail sentence.

Not-for-profit, run by journalists and completely independent – thank you for reading Hong Kong Free Press. Contribute to our critical month-long HK$1m Funding Drive, help safeguard our independence and secure our operations for another year. Read how carefully we spend every cent in our Annual/Transparency Report.

2018 hkfp promo (2)

[give_form id=”150839″ show_goal=”true”]

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.