Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

Court approves bail for jailed Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong, but bail denied for Raphael Wong

Activist Joshua Wong has been granted bail after a court earlier jailed him over his involvement in the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests. But fellow activist Raphael Wong has been denied bail.

The pair were among 20 protesters convicted of contempt for failing to comply with an injunction to clear the 2014 Umbrella Movement protest site in Mong Kok. Demosisto’s Joshua Wong admitted liability, but League of Social Democrats Vice-chairperson Raphael Wong did not.

Last Week, Joshua Wong was sentenced to three months behind bars while Raphael Wong received a four-and-a-half month jail sentence. The other activists, including former Occupy student leader Lester Shum, received suspended sentences.

Raphael Wong and Joshua Wong

Raphael Wong and Joshua Wong. Photo: In-Media.

Court of First Instance judge Andrew Chan said in his judgment that Joshua Wong’s involvement in the operation was “deep and extensive” and that he “played a leading role that day.” Regarding Raphael Wong, the judge said he “played a significant and active role” in the obstruction of the clearance.

Joshua Wong filed appeal over the length of the sentence. His lawyer argued that the sentencing was too harsh, and that he was wrongly said to have played a leading role. He also said that his age – below 21 at the time of the incident – was not taken into consideration. But the prosecution said Wong did have a leading role and the Court of First Instance judge ruled that a jail sentence was the only appropriate punishment.

On Tuesday, High Court Chief Justice Andrew Cheung said Joshua Wong received a sentence only 1.5-months shorter than Raphael Wong’s, even though he pleaded guilty. It showed that the Court of First Instance did not consider Joshua Wong’s age in providing a deduction, Cheung ruled.

A HK$10,000 bail was approved for Joshua Wong with a condition that he does not leave the city. He will apply for legal aid.

Raphael Wong also filed to appeal his conviction. His lawyer Senior Counsel Martin Lee said the prosecution did not prove – without any doubt – that he intentionally stayed at the clearance site and intended to block bailiffs from performing duties. Lee said Wong wished to leave the area, but he was unable to do so as large numbers of police officers arrived. He did not interfere with bailiffs, Lee argued.

But the prosecution said bailiffs made five warnings and he still did not leave.

Mr Justice Cheung said Raphael Wong did not have arguable reasons for appeal and rejected the bail application, although he believed Wong would not flee and the jail term was short. His appeal will be handled on March 5.

occupy mong kok

Standoff between police and protesters during the clearance of the Occupy protest site in Mong Kok. Photo: HKFP/Tom Grundy.

The sentences came months after Joshua Wong and Raphael Wong were released on bail related to separate cases. They had been jailed over their involvement in a Civic Square Umbrella Movement clash and the northeast New Territories land rights protest respectively.

Court approves bail for jailed Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong, but bail denied for Raphael Wong