Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong .(Reuters)
Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong .(Reuters)

Hong Kong activists including Joshua Wong in custody after guilty protest plea

Hong Kong was convulsed by seven straight months of huge and often violent democracy rallies last year in which millions took to the streets.
By Agence France-Presse | Posted by Shivani Kumar | Hong Kong
UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2020 02:41 AM IST

Three young Hong Kong dissidents including Joshua Wong were remanded into custody on Monday after pleading guilty to inciting a rally during last year’s pro-democracy protests, deepening the crackdown against Beijing’s critics.

Hong Kong was convulsed by seven straight months of huge and often violent democracy rallies last year in which millions took to the streets.

Beijing has refused demands for free elections and authorities have pursued democracy supporters with criminal cases and a sweeping new national security law.

Wong, 24, was prosecuted alongside fellow activists Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow over a protest which took place last summer outside the city police headquarters.

“We will continue to fight for freedom -- and now is not the time for us to kowtow to Beijing and surrender,” Wong told reporters on his way to court.

‘Add oil!’

Once inside Wong pleaded guilty to inciting and organising an illegal assembly. Lam pleaded guilty to incitement while Chow, 23, admitted inciting and joining the protest.

All three were remanded into custody pending sentencing on December 2, meaning a jail term is all but guaranteed.

The maximum sentence a magistrate’s court can hand down is three years.

“Everyone hang in there. I know it’s tougher for you to remain out there,” Wong shouted inside court.

Small groups of supporters surrounded their prison van as they were driven away shouting “Add oil!” and “No rioters, only tyranny!”

Add oil is a popular phrase of encouragement in Cantonese while authorities dismissed both peaceful and violent protesters alike last year as rioters.

Wong and Lam were later filmed leaving a police van, handcuffed together, and entering a detention facility.

‘Mentally prepared’

Despite his youth, Wong has already spent time in prison for leading democracy protests and told reporters that he was ready to return.

“Emotionally I am reluctant in every way to be jailed but rationally I have absolutely no space to complain in comparison with many others,” he said outside court, in a reference to the hundreds of protest-linked prosecutions already concluded.

Chow appeared less self-assured.

“If sentenced, this will be my first time in prison,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “While I say I have mentally prepared for this, I am still a bit scared.”

Wong became an activist when he was in his early teens, organising successful rallies in 2012 against plans to make Hong Kong’s education system more “patriotic” and similar to the mainland.

In 2014 he and Chow helped inspire and lead the “Umbrella Movement” -- a 79-day peaceful occupation of three busy intersections by a largely student-led campaign calling for universal suffrage.

Wong was jailed for his involvement in those protests, alongside most of that movement’s main leaders.

He was still in jail when last year’s much larger democracy protests kicked off, though he made appearances at numerous rallies after his release.

However the protests were deliberately leaderless, mostly organised by social media and encrypted chat forums.

They were also much more violent. Riot police unleashed thousands of rounds of tear gas and rubber bullets and were frequently filmed using batons to beat arrested demonstrators.

Their headquarters was besieged on multiple occasions with crowds hurling eggs and daubing its walls with graffiti.

Small groups of hardline activists resorted to rocks, petrol bombs and even bows and arrows.

More than 10,000 people were arrested and most of Hong Kong’s leading activists and opposition figures now face prosecution.

Arrests and gatherings banned

The demonstrations petered out at the start of the year thanks to fatigue, mass arrests and the emergence of the coronavirus.

An anti-pandemic ban on more than four people gathering in public has remained in place for most of this year.

Beijing has also imposed a broad security law which ramps up its direct control over the semi-autonomous city and outlaws certain political views.

Demosisto, the pro-democracy party that Wong, Lam and Chow were in, disbanded when the security law came in because their desire for greater self-determination was now illegal.

Pro-democracy lawmakers have also been disqualified and local legislature elections delayed for a year.

Authorities say they have returned much-needed stability to the global trade hub.

Critics counter that opposition to Beijing’s rule remains widespread despite the lack of street protests.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Health care workers transport a patient at the Royal London Hospital, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain(REUTERS)
Health care workers transport a patient at the Royal London Hospital, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain(REUTERS)

Covid-19: UK sets new record of daily deaths with 1,610 dead in last 24 hours

Reuters, London
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 10:57 PM IST
England and Scotland announced new national lockdowns on Jan. 4 in a bid to stem a surge in cases after the discovery of a more transmissible UK variant of the coronavirus late last year.
Close
With the election of Biden, well-known to many in Europe already from his years as vice president and decades in the senate, wide majorities in Germany, France and Britain are looking favorably to the coming years, according to the Washington-based Pew Research Center's survey conducted late last year.(Reuters)
With the election of Biden, well-known to many in Europe already from his years as vice president and decades in the senate, wide majorities in Germany, France and Britain are looking favorably to the coming years, according to the Washington-based Pew Research Center's survey conducted late last year.(Reuters)

Major European allies optimistic about Joe Biden administration, says survey

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 10:55 PM IST
Four years of President Donald Trump's “America First" approach to foreign policy, which included bashing traditional NATO friends and questioning the alliance itself while embracing authoritarian leaders, as well as new trade tariffs, have frayed relations with many in Europe.
Close
Members of the National Guard stand near the White House ahead of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2021. REUTERS/JOISHUA ROBERTS (REUTERS)
Members of the National Guard stand near the White House ahead of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2021. REUTERS/JOISHUA ROBERTS (REUTERS)

Biden inauguration: 2 Guard members removed over ties to right group militias

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 10:49 PM IST
The threat of an insider attack had prompted the FBI to screen all the 25,000 National Guard troops entering the capital.
Close
US President Donald Trump departs after speaking about the 2020 US presidential election results in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, US.(Reuters)
US President Donald Trump departs after speaking about the 2020 US presidential election results in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, US.(Reuters)

Iran imposes symbolic sanctions on President Trump

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 10:48 PM IST
From time to time, Iran impose symbolic sanctions on US officials. Tuesday's announcement comes on Trump's last full day in office.
Close
Pedestrians wear protective face masks in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding talks Tuesday on a possible extension of the country�s virus measures, with curfews under consideration. Photographer: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg(Bloomberg)
Pedestrians wear protective face masks in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is holding talks Tuesday on a possible extension of the country�s virus measures, with curfews under consideration. Photographer: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg(Bloomberg)

Germany poised for tighter shutdown as new coronavirus variant fuels fears

AFP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 10:46 PM IST
The new variant found is believed to be more contagious.
Close
A Palestinian woman wearing face veil, niqab, works on a Christmas-themed doll in a handicraft workshop.(Representational Image / REUTERS)
A Palestinian woman wearing face veil, niqab, works on a Christmas-themed doll in a handicraft workshop.(Representational Image / REUTERS)

Swiss govt urges rejection of ban on full-face coverings like niqabs, ski masks

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 10:42 PM IST
Nearly three years after the proposal was first floated, the Swiss are to take up the proposal entitled “Yes to a ban on covering the face” in the vote culminating on March 7.
Close
Trump's impeachment is forcing Republican senators to re-evaluate their relationship with the outgoing president who is charged with inciting a mob of supporters to storm the Capitol as Congress was counting the Electoral College votes to confirm Biden's election.(REUTERS)
Trump's impeachment is forcing Republican senators to re-evaluate their relationship with the outgoing president who is charged with inciting a mob of supporters to storm the Capitol as Congress was counting the Electoral College votes to confirm Biden's election.(REUTERS)

Trump's trial, Biden's Cabinet picks await Senate post-siege

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 10:41 PM IST
Three new Democratic senators-elect are set to be sworn into office Wednesday shortly after Biden's inauguration at the Capitol, which is under extreme security since the bloody pro-Trump riot.
Close
Antony Blinken, US President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of state, speaks on November 24, 2020. (Reuters file)
Antony Blinken, US President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of state, speaks on November 24, 2020. (Reuters file)

Outcompeting China a key focus area for Biden’s foreign policy team

By Yashwant Raj , edited by Vinod Janardhanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 10:34 PM IST
Biden has vowed to return the United States back to engaging the world from a position of leadership, which had been relinquished by President Donald Trump, according to his critics.
Close
The CDC expects about 5 million to 10 million doses to be shipped per week in the first weeks of the US vaccine distribution effort.(REUTERS)
The CDC expects about 5 million to 10 million doses to be shipped per week in the first weeks of the US vaccine distribution effort.(REUTERS)

New York City to begin closing vaccine sites Thursday without resupply

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 10:15 PM IST
The city wants to vaccinate 300,000 people this week but only has about 92,000 doses, de Blasio said in a Tuesday briefing. More than 450,000 total doses have been in administered in the city.
Close
The British prime minister has invited South Korea, India and Australia as guests to this year’s meeting as he tries to establish a so-called D-10 coalition of democracies to counter China and other authoritarian states.(PTI PHOTO)
The British prime minister has invited South Korea, India and Australia as guests to this year’s meeting as he tries to establish a so-called D-10 coalition of democracies to counter China and other authoritarian states.(PTI PHOTO)

Johnson's D-10 fuels G-7 fears of rival alliance to thwart China

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 10:13 PM IST
Boris Johnson’s plan to host an expanded Group of Seven summit in June is worrying some other members who fear the U.K. may be trying to reshape the forum of wealthy nations via the back door.
Close
President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for national intelligence director Avril Haines arrives for a confirmation hearing before the Senate intelligence committee.(AP)
President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for national intelligence director Avril Haines arrives for a confirmation hearing before the Senate intelligence committee.(AP)

US spy chief nominee Haines vows ‘no place for politics’ in job

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 09:34 PM IST
Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the panel’s acting chairman, told Haines in his opening statement that she should concentrate on the threats posed by China.
Close
A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London.(AP)
A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London.(AP)

EU looking to inoculate 70% of adults by June

AFP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 09:32 PM IST
That aim, agreed in a meeting of all EU commissioners, comes as most member states are struggling to achieve liftoff with their vaccination programmes.
Close
Alex Goldfarb poses for a photo with members of Alpine Club of Pakistan in Islamabad, Pakistan December 29, 2020. Karrar Haidri/Alpine Club of Pakistan/Handout via REUTERS(via REUTERS)
Alex Goldfarb poses for a photo with members of Alpine Club of Pakistan in Islamabad, Pakistan December 29, 2020. Karrar Haidri/Alpine Club of Pakistan/Handout via REUTERS(via REUTERS)

Body of American mountaineer found near K2 in northern Pakistan

Reuters
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 10:06 PM IST
Goldfarb and Hungarian Zoltan Szlanko were planning to climb the 8,047 metre (26,400 feet) high Broad Peak, which has yet to be ascended in winter, without the use of oxygen or any porters for help, according to Magyar Expedicios.
Close
Britain's Foreign Affairs Secretary Dominic Raab arrives at Downing Street, in London. (REUTERS)
Britain's Foreign Affairs Secretary Dominic Raab arrives at Downing Street, in London. (REUTERS)

UK lawmakers debate 'genocide' clause to China trade deals

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 09:05 PM IST
The amendment to the government’s post-Brexit trade bill, which already passed by a majority in Parliament’s House of Lords, is largely designed to force international action in addressing China’s alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur minority.
Close
A US military aide carries the "president's emergency satchel," also know as "the football," with the nuclear launch codes.(AP)
A US military aide carries the "president's emergency satchel," also know as "the football," with the nuclear launch codes.(AP)

How ‘nuclear football’ handover to occur at inauguration in Trump’s absence

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 08:52 PM IST
Trump has currently the sole legal authority to authorise the use of the nuclear arsenal, which would transfer to President-elect Joe Biden at 12pm on January 20.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP