The High Court has ruled five people guilty of criminal contempt of court for blocking the clearance of the 2014 Occupy protest site in Mong Kok.
The five are Siew Yun-long, Man For-on, Yung Yiu-sing, Chan Pak-tao and Lou Tit-man. They were charged with failing to comply with a court injunction to clear the site of the pro-democracy protest, to which they previously pleaded not guilty.
The five did not appear in court on Friday. Judge Andrew Chan will hand down sentencing at a later date.
The Mong Kok protest camp was cleared on November 25, 2014, when bailiffs implemented an injunction order with the assistance of police. Over a hundred people were arrested for not vacating the area.
Andrew Chan wrote in his 17-page judgment that Siew, Man, Yung and Chan Pak-tao had no intention of leaving the occupy site.
Chan said Siew, who took photos and wrote articles during the Occupy movement, was acting as “both a documentary reporter and a protestor.” However, Siew said during the trial that he did not want to use the identity of a journalist as an excuse to avoid being arrested.
Regarding Yung, Chan wrote that the slogan on the back of his T‑shirt – which said “rather die for speaking out, than to live and be silent” – “indicated his intention and described his involvement beyond doubt.”
Lou, the only one of the five who gave evidence in person, told the court that he only came to know the material terms of the injunction at around 1 pm that day. Lou said he was not able to leave the area since he was blocked by the crowd.
But Andrew Chan wrote that Lou chose to remain in the area and interfered with the administration of justice.
All five defendants’ presence in Mong Kok were “factually calculated” to delay the bailiffs from clearing the scene, Chan wrote.
He added that a criminal penalty would be appropriate: “On the day in question, standing in the middle of Argyle Street were a huge presence of local and international media and a large contingent of police officers. If the respondents did as what the applicant had alleged, that in my view was sufficiently flagrant or serious to warrant the imposition of punitive sanction,” he wrote.
Mong Kok injunction cases
The case originally involved 17 people. Activist Alvin Cheng of localist party Civic Passion and another protester, Au Yuk-Kwan, previously pleaded guilty to criminal contempt.
In March last year, Chan handed Cheng a three-month jail term, as he was deemed to have shown no remorse. Au was given a jail sentence of one month suspended for a year, and ordered to pay HK$10,000.
In May, the remaining ten defendants pleaded guilty.
In a separate but related case heard by Chan, pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Raphael Wong were sentenced to three months and four-and-a-half months behind bars respectively for playing a significant role in obstructing the clearance operation. They are both appealing.
Another activist, Lester Shum, was among 18 others in the case who received month-long jail sentences – suspended for a year – in addition to a HK$10,000 fine.