The credibility of the mitigation submission from a former leader of a Hong Kong activist group charged under the national security law was questionable, the prosecution has argued, citing a social media post made by the defendant.

Student Politicism’s ex-convenor Wong Yat-chin, ex-secretary general Chan Chi-sum, and ex-spokespersons Jessica Chu and Alice Wong appeared in front of Judge Kwok Wai-kin at the District Court on Saturday.

Wong Yat-chin. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The group pleaded guilty in July to conspiring to incite subversion under the Beijing-imposed national security law.

Student Politicism, which disbanded last September following the arrests of members, held seven street booths between 2020 and 2021 and spread messages inciting others to take part in a resistance, the prosecution said.

Kwok heard mitigation submissions from the four defendants on Saturday. Citing a Facebook post from Wong’s account, the prosecution said that the credibility of Wong’s claim that he was remorseful was questionable, as Wong said in the Facebook post that he “had no regrets.”

Wong’s barrister, said that the post was uploaded by Wong’s friends, and that the content came from a letter sent by the ex-convenor from prison “expressing his feelings and reflections over the year in remand.”

The barrister said that the court should take into account Wong’s mitigation together with the social media post when considering the ex-convenor’s intention.

Responding to the barrister, Kwok said that there were conflicts between the two pieces, and that Wong was not simply expressing his feelings in the social media post, but was calling for action, such as telling people to “breathe well, think well, and live well.”

District Court. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Wong’s representative then said he would discuss with his client on whether Wong will testify in court in order to prove the credibility of his mitigation submission.

‘Minor nature’

The lawyers of the three other defendants argued that the offence their clients had pleaded guilty to was of a “minor nature.”

Barrister Steven Kwan, representing Chan on Saturday, said that the ex-leader’s grandmother passed away last Sunday while Chan was remanded in custody.

Chan also said in a letter he wrote that his dream of becoming a social worker had vanished because of the case, and that he realised while in remand that one cannot judge a person based on a single incident, and hoped that society would not give up on young people and Hong Kong’s future.

Judge Kwok Wai-kin. Photo: Judiciary.

Kwan argued that Chan had only participated in two of the seven street booths, and the last time he had taken part was close to six months before the last street booth held by the group.

Kwan said he hoped that the court could consider it as though Chan “voluntarily discontinued the commission of the offence,” and impose a lighter penalty based on Article 33 of the security legislation.

Chu’s lawyer said that the ex-spokesperson left the group in March last year, and said it should be considered as a voluntarily discontinuation of committing the offence.

The barrister also said that the police did not find any weapons or equipment in Chu’s flat, and she did not advocate for the use of actual force, nor was there evidence showing that people were actually successfully incited.

Wong’s representative, citing the ex-spokesperson’s record of volunteering in secondary school, said that Wong realised the severity of the incident, and hoped to apologise to society.

The barrister also said that Wong did not intend to challenge Hong Kong’s law or the national security law, and that she regretted her actions.

Following the submissions from the four defendants, Kwok adjourned the case to October 15.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.