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Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong taken into custody after guilty plea

Masked Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow outside a court with several photographers behind them.
Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong, left, Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow arrive at a court in Hong Kong on Monday.
(Vincent Yu / Associated Press)

Prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong and two others were taken into custody Monday after they pleaded guilty to charges related to a demonstration outside police headquarters during anti-government protests last year.

Wong, together with fellow activists Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow, pleaded guilty to charges related to organizing, taking part in and inciting protesters to join an unauthorized rally outside police headquarters in June 2019. The trio were members of the now-disbanded Demosisto political party.

They were remanded in custody at a court hearing Monday, and the three are expected to be sentenced Dec. 2. Those found guilty of taking part in unlawful assembly could face as much as five years in prison depending on the severity of the offense.

“I am persuaded that neither prison bars, nor election ban, nor any other arbitrary powers would stop us from activism,” Wong said ahead of the court hearing.

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“What we are doing now is to explain the value of freedom to the world ... so much that we are willing to sacrifice the freedom of our own. I’m prepared for the thin chance of walking free.”

Wong rose to prominence as a student leader during the so-called 2014 Umbrella Movement pro-democracy protests and is among a growing number of activists being charged with relatively minor offenses since the mainland Chinese government imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong in June, which has severely restricted political speech in the semiautonomous territory.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy legislators have begun resigning in protest as Western nations denounce China’s crackdown on the city.

Pro-democracy supporters have said that the legal charges are part of a campaign to harass and intimidate them.

Lam, who also spoke ahead of the court hearing, said he was prepared to be jailed.

Wong wrote on his Facebook page Sunday that he and Lam had decided to plead guilty after consulting with their lawyers. The two previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Chow had already pleaded guilty to charges of inciting others and taking part in the protest.

“If I am sentenced to prison this time, it will be the first time in my life that I have been in jail,” Chow wrote on her Facebook page on Sunday.

“Although I am mentally prepared, I still feel a little bit scared. However, compared to many friends, I have suffered very little. When I think of this, I will try my best to face it bravely,” she wrote.

On June 21, 2019, thousands rallied outside police headquarters to protest what they said was use of excessive force against demonstrators.


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