Police have begun to formally charge protesters over protests that took place in June, with a pro-independence activist and eight other people charged with unlawful assembly.

Wayne Chan, convenor of the Hong Kong Independence Union, was charged on Wednesday over clashes that took place in the early hours of June 10. Following a historic march on June 9 in opposition to the extradition law, some protesters and police clashed outside the Legislative Council complex in Admiralty.

Wayne Chan Ka-kui
Independence activist Wayne Chan Ka-kui. File photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Police also charged seven men and one woman, aged between 20 and 34, for unlawful assembly in relation to the protests that day. The protesters were charged after the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau investigated their cases and sought legal advice, according to RTHK.

Chan and the other protesters will make their first court appearance at the Eastern Magistrates’ Court on January 2.

On June 9, the Hong Kong Independence Union was among the groups that called on protesters to surround the legislature overnight. As violence broke out between protesters and police, some demonstrators hurled bottles while officers used batons and pepper spray against the crowd.

Some fleeing protesters were later cornered by police outside the Old Wan Chai Police Station, and police arrested 10 people in the vicinity of Gloucester Road in Wan Chai.

legco extradition clashes
Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Under Hong Kong’s colonial-era Public Order Ordinance, police permission must be sought for public assemblies and any gathering of three or more people acting in a “disorderly, intimidating, insulting or provocative” manner could be defined as an “unlawful assembly.” Offenders may face three to five years in jail.

legco extradition clashes
Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

As of early December, more than 6,100 people have been arrested in relation to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, and almost 1,000 of them were prosecuted in court.

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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.