Eight Hong Kong pro-democracy activists were given suspended sentences and community service orders on Wednesday after a magistrate found them guilty of charges related to unlawful assembly in 2016.

League of Social Democrats head Avery Ng, Demosisto Chairman Ivan Lam and former Lingnan University student leader Cheng Pui-lun were each given 14-day jail terms, suspended for a year.

Activists convicted over the 2016 protest outside the China Liaison Office. Photo: inmediahk.net.

The remaining five defendants were given community service orders ranging from 60 to 100 hours.

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 wrote in her judgment that Ng was charged with incitement, though few responded to his call to “climb over the police metal barriers.”

Avery Ng. File photo: inmediahk.net.

At the time, Ng told others that there were more protesters than police, and they should “climb [over the barriers] if they can” as the path ahead was blocked.

Wong ruled that a suspended sentence was appropriate as no one was injured and no property was damaged.

After receiving the ruling, Ng said that his case was “political prosecution,” adding that he would appeal his conviction. He also criticised the prosecutors as dragging out the case.

Protesters outside the China Liaison Office in 2016. Photo: HKFP/Kris Cheng.

As for Demosisto’s Lam, the magistrate said that he led a charge against the police cordon along with around 30 people. Lam had earlier pleaded guilty to his unlawful assembly charge.

Aside from the three men given suspended jail sentences, the five others were Sammy Ip, Chan Man-wai, Lo Tak-cheong, Derek Lam and Dickson Chau.

In May, they were convicted of charges related to unlawful assembly and obstructing police.

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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.