Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was jailed for four months on Tuesday for taking part in an unauthorised assembly and violating an anti-mask law during a demonstration in October 2019.
The 24-year-old Wong – who is currently just over four months into a separate 13.5-month jail term for organising and inciting an unauthorised assembly outside police headquarters in Wan Chai in June the same year – had pleaded guilty in January.
His co-accused, veteran pro-democracy protester, Koo Sze-yiu, who had pleaded not guilty, was convicted and jailed for five months . Koo had earlier completed a four-month prison term for desecrating the Chinese national flag in a separate case.
Both men, who appeared before magistrate Daniel Tang at Eastern Magistrates’ on Tuesday, were accused of participating in an unauthorised assembly on October 5, 2019, when thousands gathered after the Hong Kong government invoked a colonial-era emergency law the day before to ban the wearing of masks at demonstrations following months of citywide unrest.
According to Stand News, during mitigation, Wong’s lawyer said his client only wore a facemask during the rally as a mark of protest, not to conceal his identity and avoid repercussions.
Ahead of the hearing, Koo, Chairperson Raphael Wong, and two other members of the League of Social Democrats gathered outside the court.
Koo, 74, wore a celebratory red ribbon flower used in Chinese weddings and, drinking from a bottle of beer, said he would be “very honoured to be jailed for the 11th time.”
“This will not be my last time in jail, there will be a 12th, 13th time, I might even intentionally violate the national security law next time,” said Koo.
The group held a banner that read: “free all political prisoners,” while Koo held up a sign that read: “I’m very honoured to be jailed for the 11th time.”
The city saw mass protests that often turned into violent clashes between protesters and the police after the government introduced an extradition bill that would allow fugitives to be sent to mainland China.
Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal ruled in December last year that the mask ban was constitutional, after the pro-democracy camp appealed against the law.
Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit, Hong Kong Free Press is #PressingOn with impartial, award-winning, frontline coverage.