Arrests, prosecutions, convictions and sentences related to Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrations from 1 1 June 2014 to 18 June 2015

The following is an overview of arrests, prosecutions, convictions and sentences related to demonstrations against Partystate-imposed fake suffrage and for genuine suffrage in HK between 11 June 2014 and 18 June 2015. These demonstrations include the half-million-person march of 1 July 2014 and the subsequent sit-in where 511 were arrested; the occupations by hundreds of thousands of Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok from 28 September to 15 December 2014; and other smaller demonstrations such as the occupation of Civic Square on 26 September 2014 and the “gao wu” demonstrations in Mong Kok after the 25–26 November clearance of the Mong Kok occupation. The period starts in June 2014 with the Partystate’s publication of its White Paper on Hong Kong and concludes on 18 June 2015 with the defeat of fake suffrage in the Legislative Council.

Below are sections on 1) arrests, 2) prosecutions and convictions, and 3) sentences.

For further information on many of the individual cases, please see “Overview of legal cases related to the HK Umbrella Revolution

arrests

The vast majority of those arrested were demonstrators. The list includes 18 definite arrests of anti-occupiers for attacking occupiers. On 3 and 4 October, anti-occupiers attacked the Mong Kok occupation. Altogether 52 were arrested. It is unclear from reports how many of these were anti-occupiers and how many occupiers. According to reports, it appears at least 19 were anti-occupiers, which would bring the number of anti-occupiers on the list to at least 37 and as many as 70, though the latter number is unlikely since probably some of those arrested on 3 and 4 October were occupiers. The seven police officers arrested for handcuffing and beating the demonstrator Ken Tsang on 15 October are not included in the list. If they were, that would bring the total number of arrests to 1,512.

Of the 1,505 arrests listed above, 747 people were arrested in relation to the occupations, while 758 were arrested in relation to events that occurred outside of the period of the occupations (28 september to 15 december 2014): 4 at a protest at the Liaison Office on 11 June; 511 at the 1 July sit-in; 5 organizers of the 1 July march; 20 in relation to protests at the 8/31 NPCSC ruling and Li Fei’s visit on 1 September; 74 in relation to the occupation of Civic Square on 26 September; 10 between then and the police teargas attacks which triggered the occupations on 28 September; 131 in gao wu protests in Mong Kok after the clearance of the occupation site; and 3 in protests against the “Make It Happen!” bus tour on 25 April.

On 2 March 2016, the HK government’s Secretary for Security said, “During the illegal ‘Occupy Movement’ in 2014, 955 persons were arrested by the Police for various alleged offences, and another 48 persons were arrested after the illegal occupation incident.”[1] This is the most comprehensive report from the government and police to date on the number of arrests related to the occupations.

But there is a number of blurry issues. By “illegal ‘Occupy Movement’”, presumably the government means the occupations which occurred from 28 September to 15 December 2014, but it is unclear whether the number of arrests reported includes other events closely associated with the occupations such as the occupation of Civic Square on 26 September, the 10 arrested in between the clearance of Civic Square and the beginning of the occupations, or the many arrests in Mong Kok in the immediate aftermath of the clearance there. It is also unclear whether the list includes occupiers, anti-occupiers and police. It is further unclear whether the list includes arrests related to the occupations but which occurred unconnected to presence at the occupations, such as the altogether 20 arrests for “accessing a computer with criminal or dishonest intent” which Apple Daily reported in June 2015.[2] If the government’s statement includes all of the above, that may go some way toward accounting for the discrepancy between the number of arrests it reports, 955 + 48, and the number in the list above compiled from media and police reports, 704 + 43. The 48 the government reports arrested after the “illegal ‘Occupy Movement’” presumably refers to those the police characterized as suspected “principal instigators” who were called in by police for “arrest appointments” between January and March 2015. If so, then again, there is a discrepancy between the 48 reported by the Secretary for Security and the 43 reported in the media and by police at the time.

Cumulative reports by police while the occupations were still on-going also differed from periodic police reports and media reports on arrests made. For example, on 29 October 2014, the Police Chief Superintendent reported that 310 people had been arrested since 26 September[3], while the list above accounts for 260. It is possible that some arrests simply went unreported by the police and/or media at the time they occurred yet were added to police accounts, but even if that is the case, a comprehensive and detailed accounting for all those arrested, including the locations, their names and their offenses has yet to be made by the authorities.

prosecutions and convictions

Of the 1,505 arrested in relation to pro-democracy protests against fake suffrage and in favor of genuine suffrage between 11 June 2014 and 18 June 2015, at least 220 were prosecuted and at least 78 convicted. In terms of the period of the occupations, the numbers are at least 220 prosecuted and at least 78 convicted. If the seven police officers convicted for beating Ken Tsang are included, the number of convictions is 85.

In the Secretary for Security’s statement to Legco mentioned above, he said, “As at January 31 this year [2016], a total of 216 persons have undergone, are undergoing or will undergo judicial proceedings. Amongst them, 182 persons have gone through the judicial process and 116 of them have to bear legal consequences, including 74 who were convicted and 42 who were bound over upon conclusion of court proceedings. The convictions include unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapon, common assault, assaulting police officer, theft, indecent assault, criminal intimidation and possession of dangerous drugs etc.” These numbers are roughly consonant with media reports. Strikingly, though, no arrests on charges of theft or possession of dangerous drugs had been previously recorded.

After the Secretary for Security’s statement in January 2016, Ken Tsang was convicted of assaulting police and resisting arrest on 15 October 2014; and Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law were convicted for occupying Civic Square on 26 September 2014. Taking the Secretary for Security’s report of 74 convicted and adding those four makes 78. There may have been others convicted since January 2016, but those are the ones to have appeared in the news.

As of February 2017, the only outstanding cases for which the Department of Justice had announced the intention to prosecute but the trial had not yet commenced were those arrested for contempt of court in the Mong Kok clearances of 25 and 26 November. It was unclear whether or not the DoJ was still proceeding with the prosecutions.

In all, then, 220 were prosecuted of 1,505 arrested, or about 14 percent. 78 were convicted of 220 prosecuted, or about 35 percent. Out of all arrested, about 5 percent were convicted.

Looking just at those arrested, prosecuted and convicted in relation to the occupations alone, and using the HK government’s figures, 216 were prosecuted out of 1,003 arrested, or about 21 percent. 78 were convicted of 220 prosecuted, or about 36 percent. Out of all arrested, about 7 percent were convicted.

sentencing

The longest prison sentence for a demonstrator was 10 months, for assaulting a police officer in Admiralty Centre on 1 December 2014. Three people were sentenced to three and a half months in prison each for breaking into Legco on 19 November 2014. Ken Tsang was sentenced to five weeks in prison for assaulting officers and resisting arrest. The total amount of prison time to which demonstrators were sentenced was 19 and a half months. All of the 76 others convicted were sentenced either to pay a fine or to community service or received suspended sentences.

The seven officers convicted of beating Ken Tsang received two years in prison each, amounting to 14 years in prison.

[1] “LCQ11: Arrests and prosecutions in relation to public order events”, Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, Hong Kong Government Press Releases, March 2, 2016, http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201603/02/P201603020641.htm

[2] “警以電腦罪拉人 定罪率低拘20人僅3案罪成 專家憂引發寒蟬效應”, Apple Daily, 23 June 2015, http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/news/art/20150623/19194835

[3]“2014–10–29 Opening remarks by Police Chief Superintendent at press conference”, Hong Kong Police Force press releases, 29 October 2014, http://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/03_police_message/pr/pr201410.html