Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong jailed again over protest

HONG KONG: Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong was yesterday jailed for the second time for his role in mass pro-democracy protests in 2014.

Wong, 21, who became the face of the 2014 Umbrella Movement, was handed a three-month sentence on a contempt charge for obstructing clearance of a major protest encampment, to which he pleaded guilty.

He is already on bail pending an appeal over a six-month sentence for another protest-related offence.

Judge Andrew Chan described Wong's involvement in obstructing the clearance in 2014 as "deep and extensive", adding: "The only appropriate punishment for Mr Wong is immediate imprisonment."

Fellow activist Raphael Wong was jailed for four months and 15 days over the same incident. Both were denied bail. Fourteen other defendants including activist Lester Shum were given suspended sentences on contempt charges.

Campaigners fear that these cases against activists and jail terms given to democracy leaders would discourage young people from expressing their views and exercising their right to peaceful protest.

Before the hearing, Wong said he had "no regrets".

"They can lock up our bodies but they can't lock up our minds," he told reporters.

Hong Kong has been governed under a "one country, two systems" deal since 1997, when Britain handed the territory back to China. This allows freedom of speech and a partially directly elected parliament, as well as an independent judiciary, but there are concerns those liberties are being eroded. - AFP