Hong Kong Court Quashes Appeal From Protest Movement’s ‘Spiritual Leader’

Sandra Loyd

Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal has actually dismissed an appeal by an imprisoned Hong Kong political leader who promoted “separation” in between the former British nest and mainland China, maintaining his six-year prison term for “rioting” throughout the 2016 “fishball revolution” in Mong Kok.

Edward Leung, who is extensively considered the “spiritual leader” of the anti-extradition and pro-democracy protest motion, when headed the now-defunct political group Hong Kong Native, which campaigned for Hong Kong to be permitted to keep its separation from mainland China.

He is credited with creating the motto “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution in Our Time,” throughout his 2016 Legal Council election campaign, a cry which ended up being the rallying cry of the protest motion that rocked the city for numerous months starting last June.

The Court of Appeal stated the sentence was not extreme, “given the circumstances surrounding the riot at Argyle Street, including the fact that for no reason, and when there was no confrontation, the assembled crowd attacked police officers with no anti-riot gear from behind and also the severity of the violence used.”

The clashes followed Hong Kong Native set in motion people to collect in the location Feb. 8, 2016, in assistance of unlicensed hawkers who had actually been robbed by authorities in Mong Kok.

The court stated Leung’s individual beliefs that Hong Kong need to keep its different identity didn’t reduce his guilt.

It likewise dismissed appeals from fellow accuseds Wong Ka-kui and Lo Kin-man, who are serving three-and-a-half and seven-year prison terms respectively. Lo’s legal representative stated he would interest the Court of Final Appeal.

Assistance continues

Leung, who was founded guilty of “assaulting a police officer” and “rioting” throughout the Mong Kok discontent, didn’t appear in court on Wednesday, however a crowd of fans collected outside the structure with banners, yelling mottos.

An advocate who provided just his surname Chan stated he was dissatisfied with the judgment, which he thought Leung ought to have gotten a decrease in sentence.

“I’m very disappointed,” Chan stated. “Maybe the judge disapproved of his methods at the time, and he was perhaps due for a punishment, but I don’t think it should have been so long.”

Chan stated assistance continues for Leung even while he remains in prison.

“I want him to know that he is not alone,” Chan stated. “Many people remember him, even though he’s in jail.”

“Maybe his methods aren’t acceptable to the average person … but I want to thank him for his efforts.”

Civic Party legislator Alvin Yeung stated the decision may declare a brand-new age of much harder sentencing for people founded guilty of rioting by Hong Kong’s courts.

“Of course it’s a shame that young people who care passionately about Hong Kong are facing such long sentences,” Yeung stated. “But the sentencing guidelines given by the Court of Appeal have to be followed by the lower courts, which will likely set an unshakeable precedent.”

Pressure from Beijing

Hong Kong Native was established to campaign for the upkeep of a different identity for Hong Kong considering that the 1997 handover to mainland China, however Beijing has actually put pressure on Hong Kong authorities over the last few years to ensure that nobody promoting higher self-reliance or autonomy for the city can participate in public life.

Strategies by Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam to enable the extradition of supposed criminal suspects to deal with trial in mainland China stimulated mass street demonstrations beginning in early June that were soon followed by extensive public anger at authorities usage of force versus tranquil demonstrators, and needs for completely democratic elections.

Lam has actually considering that officially withdrawn the disliked modifications to the city’s extradition laws, however has actually stopped short of conference protesters’ needs for an amnesty for arrestees, an independent public questions into authorities violence and abuse of power, an end to the description of protesters as “rioters,” and completely democratic elections.

A January viewpoint survey by Reuters discovered that the majority of Hong Kong’s homeowners supported the 5 needs of the protest motion, with more than one third of participants stating they had actually participated in a protest.

Just 30 percent stated they were opposed, compared to 59 percent of those surveyed who supported the motion.

Reported by Lau Siu-fung for RFA’s Cantonese Service. Equated and modified by Luisetta Mudie.

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