Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has been jailed for three months for doxxing a police officer involved in a live-round shooting during the 2019 extradition bill protests.

Wong, 26, appeared in front of Judge Russell Coleman for sentencing at the High Court on Monday. The activist had previously admitted liability for contempt of court, after violating a court injunction which barred the release of police officers’ personal information, otherwise known as doxxing.

Joshua Wong
Joshua Wong. File photo: Studio Incendo.

The officer in question shot a protester during a face-off in Sai Wan Ho in November 2019. The protester was later found guilty of attempting to take a police officer’s gun, and was sentenced to six years in jail.

The High Court issued an interim injunction order in 2019, which banned the disclosure of the personal information of police officers involved in the 2019 extradition bill protests, as well as details of their extended family members.

In a criminal case involving those arrested over the Sai Wan Ho protest, the court also imposed an anonymity order in June 2020, barring the disclosure of the personal information of the police officer who fired the live round.

Hong Kong also passed an anti-doxxing law in 2021, under which offenders risk a HK$1 million fine and five years in prison.

Wong made a Facebook post containing the personal details of the officer on August 14, 2020. The post also contained a link to a post on LIHKG, a popular online forum that was commonly used during the 2019 protests and unrest.

The LIHKG post contained four photos of the police officer, his wife, and his two daughters. One of the photos was photoshopped to portray the officer’s daughters holding knives, with the words “our father is a murderer.”

High Court.
High Court. File photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Some comments made in response to the posts were “distasteful and repulsive,” the representative for the secretary for justice said on Monday.

Barrister Albert Wong, representing Joshua Wong, said the activist had condemned those comments, saying that some of those remarks had an “undertone of racism.”

The barrister also said- Joshua Wong “offers [an] unreserved apology” to the officer and his family.

The justice minister’s representative said that the court should impose a sentence that would have a deterrent effect.

Wong had “abused the social influence” he had, and his post, addressed to another activist Nathan Law, was accessible to the general public, said the justice minister’s representative, adding that it had attracted over 4,900 reactions.

The representative also said that although the post had been deleted two days later, it was impossible to “put the genie back into the bottle.”

The court should send a clear message to the public that such actions were not to be tolerated, said the representative.

Coleman 高浩文.jpg
Russell Coleman. Photo: Judiciary.

Albert Wong said that the activist took down the post within two days, but accepted that the damage was done after he published the post.

The barrister also said that Wong would like to offer an apology to the court.

The Department of Justice had brought lawsuits against four people in 2022, including Joshua Wong, for allegedly violating the court order, around two years after the anonymity order was imposed.

The justice minister’s representative said on Monday that the delay to proceedings had not caused any prejudice to Wong.

The judge sentenced Joshua Wong to three months in prison, and said he would provide a written judgement in a few days to explain his reasons and to deal with the matter of legal costs.

Wong, who was previously imprisoned for other protest-related cases, is currently in remand over a national security case in which he and 46 other democrats were accused of conspiring to commit subversion.

21-day suspended sentence for other defendant

In a subsequent hearing, Coleman sentenced Tsang Chi-sing, a man who was also sued for doxxing the same police officer, to 21 days in prison. Tsang’s sentence was suspended for 12 months.

Tsang admitted liability on Monday, and wrote in a mitigation letter that he “deeply regret the silly matter” that he had done.

The judge also ordered him to pay HK$8,000 in legal costs to the Department of Justice, after Tsang said that he earned an unstable income and had to support his two children.

Support HKFP  |  Code of Ethics  |  Error/typo?  |  Contact Us  |  Newsletter  | Transparency & Annual Report | Apps

Help safeguard press freedom & keep HKFP free for all readers by supporting our team

contribute to hkfp
2023 fund hkfp
YouTube video

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit.

contact hkfp
Headshot candice chau hkfp

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.