The Umbrella Movement 9, arrested 27 March 2017 on ‘inciting public nuisance’ charges; from left to right: Chu Yiu-ming, Chan Kin-man, Benny Tai, Lee Wing-tat, Shiu Ka-chun, Tanya Chan, Raphael Wong, Tommy Cheung, Eason Chung

Overview of prosecutions and lawsuits brought by the Hong Kong government against pro-democracy leaders

Last updated 13 April 2018

Below is a list of the cases, followed by a table. Related updates can be found here, here and here, and a related articles here. This article was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated periodically since then. As of May 2018, it will no longer be updated. The most up-to-date information on the cases mentioned here can be found here.

The following list reads like a who’s who of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. It is strong evidence that the Hong Kong government is engaged in a systematic campaign to damage or destroy it and is using the courts as a major means of doing so. Never in Hong Kong’s history have so many opposition politicians and activists faced court proceedings against them. Altogether 26 pro-democracy leaders face 40 different cases.

(By “pro-democracy leader”, I mean anyone who is or has been a leader of a pro-democracy group such as a political party or student organization. Besides these cases, dozens of ordinary pro-democracy activists have also been prosecuted. The point of focusing here on the leaders is that it is one of the best indications that the Hong Kong government, under the direction of the Communist Party, is using the courts to attack the pro-democracy movement.)

In addition to court cases, the Hong Kong government has also disqualified candidates from running in elections on political grounds, disqualified six democratically elected pro-democracy Legislative Council representatives, and prohibited political groups from public manifestations on sites controlled by the government, such as the annual New Year’s Market, often on spurious grounds such as “safety”. It has also refused to register one group in the Companies Registry and failed to respond to another’s application after more than a year (it usually takes a matter of days). The overall objective is to constrict political space as tightly as possible and to weaken and eventually destroy the pro-democracy movement.

As of 13 April 2018, of the 40 cases brought against 26 pro-democracy leaders since 2014, 22 cases have concluded, resulting in 13 convictions, 6 acquittals, 1 prosecution thrown out by the judge, and 6 disqualifications from Legco. (Note: The discrepancy has to do with difference between number of cases and number of counts per case.) 6 appeals are on-going, 5 by defendants, 1 by the government. There have been 2 prison sentences. 3 prison sentences were overturned upon appeal. Trials of 17 defendants are on-going. The trial of 1 defendant has not yet begun.

Number of cases per pro-democracy leader: 4 cases: Raphael Wong; Leung Kwok-hung/Long Hair; 3 cases: Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Avery Ng; 2 cases: Baggio Leung, Yau Wai-ching; 1 case: Alex Chow, Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man, Chu Yiu-ming, Eason Chung, Tommy Cheung, Tanya Chan, Shiu Ka-chun, Lee Wing-tat, Lester Shum, Albert Chan, Billy Fung, Colman Li, Cheng Chung-tai, Dickson Chau, Devon Cheng, Lau Siu-lai, Edward Yiu, Kenneth Leung

Patterns:

12 cases have to do with behavior in or action taken or statements made related to work in Legco. Formerly, the Hong Kong government conceded to Legco responsibility for dealing internally with such matters. This pattern represents a clearly new tactic on the part of the Hong Kong government, targeting pro-democracy leaders with criminal and disqualification cases related to their work as elected Legco members.

25 cases are related to protests.

16 of the 26 pro-democracy leaders are under 30 years of age. 5 of the 7 facing more than one case are under 30. (Long Hair and Avery Ng are the exceptions).

All 7 facing more than one legal case belong to groups the government perceives as “radical”.

8 challenge Hong Kong’s current political status as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. In essence, the Hong Kong government is trying to nip new movements, whether for self-determination or independence, in the bud but also to intimidate the wider pro-democracy movement.

8 eminently old-style, traditional, moderate pan-democrats have also been targeted.

Many of the protest-related prosecutions appear quite arbitrary: For example, Alex Chow was one of over 60 arrested for staying in Civic Square throughout the occupation and yet he was the only one prosecuted for doing so.

The Hong Kong government has brought 15 different criminal charges: unlawful assembly, inciting unlawful assembly, obstructing police, assaulting police, conspiracy to incite public nuisance, inciting public nuisance, inciting disorderly conduct, misconduct in public office, criminal intimidation, criminal damage, attempted forcible entry, obstructing ambulanceman, desecrating PRC & SAR flags, disclosing identity of person under investigation by ICAC, contempt of Legco.

The Hong Kong government has brought 3 other cases: defamation, disqualification from Legco, and contempt of court.

Following is a list of the cases, classified in the following way: 1) “related to the Umbrella Movement”, 2) “related to other demonstrations or political expressions” and 3) “related to other politically activity”. After the list is a table organized according to the name of each pro-democracy leader.

Related to the Umbrella Movement, September to December 2014

· Joshua Wong, secretary general of Demosisto, former convenor of Scholarism (convicted of unlawful assembly, sentenced to community service, govt appealed sentence on 9 August, on 17 August the Court of Appeal of the High Court sentenced him to 7 months in prison; acquitted of inciting unlawful assembly. He is appealing the prison sentence. On 24 October, he was granted bail. On 7 November, the Court of Final Appeal accepted his application to appeal. The appeal hearing was held on 16 January. On 6 February, the Court of Final Appeal overturned the prison sentence but upheld new tougher sentencing guidelines by the Court of Appeal which could lead to heavier prison sentences for protesters in future.)

· Nathan Law, Legco member, chair of Demosisto, former secretary general of Hong Kong Federation of Students (convicted of inciting unlawful assembly, sentenced to community service, govt appealed sentence on 9 August, on 17 August the Court of Appeal of the High Court sentenced him to 8 months in prison. He is appealing the prison sentence. On 24 October, he was granted bail. On 7 November, the Court of Final Appeal accepted his application to appeal. The appeal hearing was held on 16 January. On 6 February, the Court of Final Appeal overturned the prison sentence but upheld new tougher sentencing guidelines by the Court of Appeal which could lead to heavier prison sentences for protesters in future.)

· Alex Chow, former secretary general of Hong Kong Federation of Students (convicted of unlawful assembly, given suspended sentence, govt appealed sentence on 9 August, verdict due 17 August, on 17 August the Court of Appeal of the High Court sentenced him to 6 months in prison. On 7 November, the Court of Final Appeal accepted his application to appeal and granted him bail pending appeal. The appeal hearing was held on 16 January. On 6 February, the Court of Final Appeal overturned the prison sentence but upheld new tougher sentencing guidelines by the Court of Appeal which could lead to heavier prison sentences for protesters in future.)

· Benny Tai, convenor of Occupy Central with Love and Peace (conspiracy & 2 inciting public nuisance charges; initial hearing 25 May, first District Court hearing 15 June, procedural hearing 19 September, two days of pre-trial review were held on 9 and 10 January, the trial adjourned until 13 February, and now until 19 November 2018 when the trial proper is expected to begin.)

· Chan Kin-man, convenor of Occupy Central with Love and Peace (conspiracy & 2 inciting public nuisance charges; initial hearing 25 May, first District Court hearing 15 June, two days of pre-trial review were held on 9 and 10 January, the trial adjourned until 13 February, and now until 19 November 2018 when the trial proper is expected to begin.)

· Chu Yiu-ming, convenor of Occupy Central with Love and Peace (conspiracy & 2 inciting public nuisance charges; initial hearing 25 May, first District Court hearing 15 June, two days of pre-trial review were held on 9 and 10 January, the trial adjourned until 13 February, and now until 19 November 2018 when the trial proper is expected to begin.)

· Eason Chung, former Hong Kong Federation of Students standing committee member (2 inciting public nuisance charges; initial hearing 25 May, first District Court hearing 15 June, two days of pre-trial review were held on 9 and 10 January, the trial adjourned until 13 February, and now until 19 November 2018 when the trial proper is expected to begin.)

· Tommy Cheung, former leader of Hong Kong Federation of Students (2 inciting public nuisance charges; initial hearing 25 May, first District Court hearing 15 June, two days of pre-trial review were held on 9 and 10 January, the trial adjourned until 13 February, and now until 19 November 2018 when the trial proper is expected to begin.)

· Tanya Chan, Legco member, founding member of Civic Party (2 inciting public nuisance charges; initial hearing 25 May, first District Court hearing 15 June, two days of pre-trial review were held on 9 and 10 January, the trial adjourned until 13 February, and now until 19 November 2018 when the trial proper is expected to begin.)

· Raphael Wong, vice-chair, League of Social Democrats (2 inciting public nuisance charges; initial hearing 25 May, first District Court hearing 15 June, two days of pre-trial review were held on 9 and 10 January, the trial adjourned until 13 February, and now until 19 November 2018 when the trial proper is expected to begin.)

· Shiu Ka-chun, Legco member representing Social Welfare functional constituency (2 inciting public nuisance charges; initial hearing 25 May, first District Court hearing 15 June, two days of pre-trial review were held on 9 and 10 January, the trial adjourned until 13 February, and now until 19 November 2018 when the trial proper is expected to begin.)

· Lee Wing-tat, former Legco member, former chair of Democratic Party (1 inciting public nuisance charge; initial hearing 25 May, first District Court hearing 15 June, two days of pre-trial review were held on 9 and 10 January, the trial adjourned until 13 February, and now until 19 November 2018 when the trial proper is expected to begin.)

· Joshua Wong, secretary general of Demosisto, former convenor of Scholarism (on 6 July admitted contempt of court, related to the clearance of the Mong Kok occupation on 26 November 2014; closing statements made in trial of 20 for contempt on 23 August, verdict expected before 26 September, postponed to 13 October, convicted of contempt of court together with 20 other protesters; original sentencing hearing on 7 December adjourned without sentencing; on 17 January sentenced to three months in prison; on bail pending appeal, no appeal date set yet.)

· Lester Shum, former head of Hong Kong Federation of Students (on 6 July admitted contempt of court, related to the clearance of the Mong Kok occupation on 26 November 2014, closing statements made in trial of 20 for contempt on 23 August, verdict expected before 26 September, postponed to 13 October, convicted of contempt of court together with 20 other protesters; original sentencing hearing on 7 December adjourned without sentencing, no rescheduled date yet, on 17 January sentenced to one month in prison suspended for 13 months and a HK$10,000 fine.)

·Raphael Wong, vice-chair, League of Social Democrats (denied contempt of court, related to the clearance of the Mong Kok occupation on 26 November 2014; closing statements made in trial of 20 for contempt on 23 August, verdict expected before 26 September, postponed to 13 October, convicted of contempt of court together with 20 other protesters; original sentencing on 7 December adjourned without sentencing, on 17 January sentenced to four months and 15 days in prison. On 23 March, the Court of Appeal rejected his appeal.)

Related to other demonstrations or political expressions

· Joshua Wong, secretary general of Demosisto, former convenor of Scholarism (acquitted of obstructing police for June 2014 protest at Liaison Office against White Paper on HK)

· Nathan Law, Legco member, chair of Demosisto, former secretary general of Hong Kong Federation of Students (acquitted of obstructing police for June 2014 protest at Liaison Office against White Paper on HK)

· Raphael Wong, vice-chair, League of Social Democrats (acquitted of obstructing police for June 2014 protest at Liaison Office against White Paper on HK)

· Albert Chan, former Legco member, People Power (acquitted of obstructing police for June 2014 protest at Liaison Office against White Paper on HK)

· Raphael Wong, vice-chair, League of Social Democrats (convicted of unlawful assembly in relation to a June 2014 protest against the government’s New Territories development plan; originally sentenced to community service, government appealed sentence, on 15 August sentenced to 13 months in prison by Court of Appeal of High Court; 1 of 13 activists sentenced to prison on that date [all but one for 13 months, the one for 8 months]; the first pro-democracy leader sentenced to a length prison term. In November, along with eight other defendants in the case, granted bail pending appeal. By January, all 13 had been bailed. On 21 March, the Court of Final Appeal agreed to hear their appeal, scheduled for 7 September 2018.)

· Billy Fung, former HKU student union president (20 July found guilty of disorderly conduct, acquitted of criminal intimidation; had previously plead guilty to criminal damage and attempted forcible entry at HKU council meeting 26 Jan ’16; on 21 September, sentenced to 240 hours of community service; Department of Justice announced it would not appeal the sentence)

· Colman Li Fung-kai, former HKU student union external vice-president (20 July found guilty of obstructing ambulanceman at HKU council meeting 26 Jan ’16; on 21 September, sentenced to 240 hours of community service; Department of Justice announced it would not appeal the sentence)

· Avery Ng, chair of League of Social Democrats (assaulting police officer with thrown sandwich at Sept ’16 protest against CY Leung, plead not guilty on 31 March, pre-trial hearing 26 July, trial proper began 3 October, concluded 12 October, sentenced to 3 weeks in prison on 31 October, on bail pending appeal; appeal to be heard in October 2018)

· Avery Ng, chair of League of Social Democrats (disclosing identity of person under ICAC investigation, initial court hearing 8 May; on 25 Aug, Eastern Magistracy court dismissed his attempt to stay proceedings; trial to begin in December but postponed until 2 March and on-going as of April)

· Avery Ng, chair of League of Social Democrats (inciting disorderly conduct- 2 counts, related to 6 Nov ’16 protest at Liaison Office, initial court hearing 5 May, on 21 July he and all 8 others on trial plead not guilty; first pre-trial hearing on 23 August at West Kowloon Magistrates Court, second pre-trial hearing on 13 October; trial scheduled to begin 29 January; postponed to 30 January, expected to continue until late February, but prolonged after prosecution requested different charges for Ng and one other defendant, Derek Lam; judge accepted changed charges, which is Ng’s case are now inciting unlawful assembly; trial to resume 19 April)

· Cheng Chung-tai, Legco member, chair of Civic Passion (desecrating Chinese & HK flags 19 Oct ’16 in Legco, initial hearing 16 May, pre-trial review 27 June; trial began 7 September, finished on 15 September; on 29 September found guilty of desecrating PRC and HKSAR flags, fined HK$5,000)

· Baggio Leung, Legco member until evicted [see below], convenor of Youngspiration (arrested 26 Apr ’17 for unlawful assembly, with an alternative charge of forcible entry, for attempting to enter a Legco conference room in Nov ’16 while still a Legco member; first court hearing 28 Apr, additional hearing 26 May, pre-trial hearing 14 July; trial began 18 December; on 2 January, the judge ruled that he had a case to answer; trial proper began 4 January and finished 5 January; closing arguments on 28 February; verdict expected 11 May 2018)

· Yau Wai-ching, Legco member until evicted [see below], Youngspiration(arrested 26 Apr ’17 for unlawful assembly, with an alternative charge of forcible entry, for attempting to enter a Legco conference room in Nov ’16 while still a Legco member; first court hearing 28 Apr, additional hearing 26 May, pre-trial hearing 14 July; trial began 18 December; on 2 January, the judge ruled that she had a case to answer; trial proper began 4 January and finished 5 January; closing arguments on 28 February, verdict expected 11 May 2018)

· Dickson Chau Ka-faat, deputy secretary general, League of Social Democrats (obstructing police, assaulting police, related to 6 Nov ’16 protest at Liaison Office, initial court hearing 5 May; on 21 July he and all 8 others on trial plead not guilty; first pre-trial hearing on 23 August at West Kowloon Magistrates Court, second pre-trial hearing on 13 October; trial scheduled to begin 29 January; postponed to 30 January, expected to continue until late February but prolonged after prosecution requested different charges for Ng and one other defendant, Derek Lam; judge accepted changed charges, which is Ng’s case are now inciting unlawful assembly; trial to resume 19 April)

· Devon Cheng Pui-lun, former Lingnan U student union president, unlawful assembly, related to 6 Nov ’16 protest at Liaison Office, initial court hearing 5 May, on 21 July he and all 8 others on trial plead not guilty; first pre-trial hearing on 23 August at West Kowloon Magistrates Court, second pre-trial hearing on 13 October; trial scheduled to begin 29 January; postponed to 30 January, expected to continue until late February but prolonged after prosecution requested different charges for Ng and one other defendant, Derek Lam; judge accepted changed charges, which is Ng’s case are now inciting unlawful assembly; trial to resume 19 April)

Related to other political activity

· Leung Kwok-hung / Long Hair, former Legco member, former chair of League of Social Democrats (acquitted of misconduct in public office on 31 July over alleged failure to declare HK$250,000 donation from Jimmy Lai, trial began 5 June and Long Hair denied the charges, trial ended 16 June, government has announced it won’t appeal)

· Leung Kwok-hung / Long Hair, former Legco member, former chair of League of Social Democrats (contempt of Legco, related to November 2016 incident, at initial court hearing 12 June Long Hair denied the charges, pre-trial review 7 August, pre-trial review 15 January, trial proper scheduled to begin 20 February. On 5 March, the judge ruled that Legco members cannot be charged with contempt of Legco and therefore the prosecution cannot go forward. On 16 March 2018 the government announced it would appeal.)

· Leung Kwok-hung / Long Hair, former Legco member, former chair of League of Social Democrats (assault, related to a 12 April 2017 incident in which Long Hair is alleged to have kicked a pro-CCP protester outside Legco who he claims was attacking elderly people. Long Hair was arrested and charged with assault on 4 April 2018, nearly one year after the alleged incident and after two other prosecutions of Long Hair had failed.)

6 lawsuits at High Court to disqualify elected Legislative Council members over October 2016 oath-taking

· Baggio Leung, Legco member until evicted, convenor of Youngspiration (disqualified; on 25 Aug, Court of Final Appeal refused to hear his appeal)

· Yau Wai-ching, Legco member until evicted, Youngspiration (disqualified; on 25 Aug, Court of Final Appeal refused to hear her appeal)

· Leung Kwok-hung / Long Hair, Legco member, former chair of League of Social Democrats (disqualified 14 July, filed application for leave to appeal on 8 September 2017, appeal scheduled for April 2019, Long Hair is appealing the date on grounds that the case is of urgent public interest since his seat in Legco remains vacant and no by-election will be scheduled to fill it until the appeals process ends)

· Nathan Law, Legco member, chair of Demosisto, former secretary general of Hong Kong Federation of Students (disqualified 14 July)

· Lau Siu-lai, Legco member, founder of Democracy Groundwork (disqualifed 14 July, filed application for leave to appeal on 8 September 2017)

· Edward Yiu, Legco member representing Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape functional constituency (disqualified 14 July)

1 lawsuit brought by Chief Executive

· Kenneth Leung, Legco member representing Accountancy functional constituency, vice-chair of Professional Commons (for defamation of CE, yet to go to trial)

6 pro-democracy candidates were disqualified from running in September 2016 Legco elections, including one, Edward Leung of HK Indigenous, who had been allowed to run in a February 2016 by-election and won enough votes to be considered a viable candidate in September. 3 candidates were disqualified from running in March 2018 by-elections to fill the seats of 4 of 6 disqualified pro-democracy Legco members, including Agnes Chow on grounds that her party advocated self-determination, though her party fellow, Nathan Law, had previously been allowed to run for Legco.

10 of 29 elected pro-democracy Legco members have been prosecuted or sued by the unelected HK government, including 5 of 6 of the ‘new-style’ post-Umbrellas who won in the September 2016 Legco election (the single exception is Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, who got more votes than any Legco candidate ever). 6have lost their seats, 4 others might.

— KTG