Nine Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders get up to 18 months in prison

The accused were convicted of organising and taking part in a large anti-government protest on 18 August 2019. Media mogul Jimmy Lai and barrister Margaret Ng are given a one year sentence; Martin Lee, 11 months. Former lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung gets a stiffer sentence.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Nine pro-democracy leaders were handed down sentences ranging from eight to 18 months for organising and taking part in a large anti-government protest held on 18 August 2019.

West Kowloon District Court Judge Amanda Woodcock, who convicted the accused on 1 April, heard mitigation requests.

Defying a ban, 1.7 million people took part in the march, organisers said, to demand the authorities drop an extradition bill and to denounce police brutality.

Among those convicted, tycoon Jimmy Lai  received a one-year sentence. The “father of democracy” Martin Lee, one of the founders of the Democratic Party, was sentenced to 11 months in prison.

Lai is already in prison, waiting to go on trial for threatening national security; Lee was recently proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize. Both are Catholic.

Barrister Margaret Ng, a Christian and a former lawmaker, was given a one-year sentence. Former lawmakers Albert Ho and Lee Cheuk-yan also got a year. Cyd Ho received a lower sentence (eight months).

The harshest sentence was imposed on former lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung: 18 months.

Trade unionist Leung Yiu-chung was sentenced instead to eight months. Former Democratic Party member Au Nok-hin was given 10 months. Both pleaded guilty.

Judge Woodcock decided to suspend the sentence for Lee, Ng, Albert Ho and Leung Yiu-chung.