Avery Ng and several other pro-democracy activists received their verdicts on Wednesday over their involvement in a 2016 protest outside Beijing’s office in Hong Kong.

Ng, who is also chairman of the League of Social Democrats, was found guilty of two charges of inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly. After the judgment was handed down, Ng told reporters that he planned to appeal.

Avery Ng and other defendants speaking before the magistrate’s ruling. Photo: inmediahk.net.

On November 6, 2016, hundreds surrounded the China Liaison Office in Sai Wan after a march opposing a Basic Law interpretation by Beijing. Some threw water and water bottles at police, as officers used pepper spray and batons to drive them back.

Magistrate Peony Wong said on Wednesday that Ng had encouraged protesters to climb over the liaison office’s barricades and police barriers, according to InMedia.

At the time, Ng called on protesters to “climb over the barriers in an orderly way,” but Wong said that the action of “climbing” was necessarily rough, aggressive and disorderly. Ng’s actions left police officers and journalists at the scene fearing for their safety, she added.

Protesters outside the China Liaison Office. Photo: HKFP/Kris Cheng.

Ng’s lawyer argued in court that the police did not heed the protesters’ requests and arrange for them to march towards the liaison office. But Wong said that the police could not be blamed since the protesters decided to change their route mid-way.

Wong also dismissed Ng’s argument that police officers pulled at his genitals, saying that his claim was not supported by video evidence.

Other activists found guilty

Aside from Ng, five activists were found guilty of at least one charge: Sammy Ip, Chan Man-wai, Lo Tak-cheong and Cheng Pui-lun were each convicted of one count of unlawful assembly. Ip also faced an additional conviction for obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty.

Activist Dickson Chau was found guilty of obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty.

File photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

The sole defendant acquitted was Chow Shu-wing from People Power, who at 67 was the oldest among the group. The magistrate said there was not enough evidence to show Chow was associated with the other defendants.

Two activists affiliated with Demosisto pleaded guilty at the start of the trial. Chairman Ivan Lam pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful assembly, while former member Derek Lam pleaded guilty to inciting others to behave in a disorderly manner in a public place.

The activists were scheduled to be sentenced on September 11.

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Holmes Chan

Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.