HK student leader back in court over protest

HONG KONG • Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong has returned to court over an anti-China protest, a day after he faced new charges related to a pro-democracy rally.

Wong, 18, has accused the authorities of "political prosecution" as they hit him with a raft of cases.

The charges he faces relate to various protests between June and November last year.

Yesterday's hearing concerned a protest in June last year that saw dozens gather outside Beijing's representative office in Hong Kong. They were opposing a "white paper" from China that asserted its control over the city.

Wong, student leader Nathan Law, 22, and activists Raphael Wong and Albert Chan have been charged with obstructing police at the June incident. All have pleaded "not guilty". The case was adjourned yesterday until Oct 26.

"The government and police have a political agenda," he told the media at court yesterday. "They could have taken us to court last year... It's meaningless."

Wong's lawyer, Mr Michael Vidler, said: "They've known about this since the day of the arrests. Why haven't they proceeded? We're saying it's politically motivated."

Wong and Law were also charged on Thursday over a student protest in September last year that helped spark the widespread democracy rallies that gripped Hong Kong for more than two months at the end of last year. Wong faces further charges over a democracy rally last November, but said he was determined to keep campaigning.

He said his campaign group, Scholarism, would be announcing a new strategy next month.

"I'm still optimistic... but, of course, it's hard for us to change the system in the next two or three years," Wong said. "We just hope to gather and strengthen civil society to fight for us in the future."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'HK student leader back in court over protest'. Print Edition | Subscribe