Six members of the group behind Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen vigil have been convicted of unauthorised assembly offences after pleading guilty over last year’s banned event.
Albert Ho Chun-yan, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, and five former standing committee members – Andrew Wan Siu-kin, Cheung Man Kwong, Mak Hoi-wah, Leung Kwok-wah and Chiu Yan-loy – formally entered their pleas alongside six other activists and former politicians at District Court on Thursday.
The 12 were among 26 opposition figures charged with a total of 39 offences in connection with the candlelight vigil at Victoria Park on June 4.
Police banned the event for the first time in more than 30 years, citing public health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s event was also banned on the same grounds.
Former lawmakers “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Cyd Ho Sau-lan, Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and Yeung Sum, former convenor of Civil Human Rights Front Figo Chan Ho-wun, and Labour Party chairman Steven Kwok Wing-kin, also pleaded guilty.
The 12 faced one count of knowingly taking part in an unauthorised assembly, with seven – Albert Ho, Wan, Cheung, Mak, Chiu, Chan and Kwok – facing an additional incitement offence.
Eight others, including media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and alliance chairman Lee Cheuk-yan, were charged with one to three counts in connection with their roles in last year’s vigil. They have all pleaded not guilty and will stand trial in November.
Activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung and three district councillors – Lester Shum, Tiffany Yuen Ka-wai and Janelle Leung Hoi-ching – were previously sentenced to between four and 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to taking part.
All but Wong have completed their sentences, but Shum and Yuen remain behind bars awaiting trial under the national security law in relation to an unofficial primary election held last year.
Former lawmaker Nathan Law Kwun-chung and activist Sunny Cheung Kwan-yang, who both also faced participation charges, left Hong Kong before their first court hearing in September last year.