Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong jailed for 10 months over Tiananmen vigil

Activist Joshua Wong is already in prison because of other illegal assembly convictions. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (AFP) - Jailed Hong Kong dissident Joshua Wong was handed an additional 10-month sentence on Thursday (May 6) after he pleaded guilty to taking part in an "unlawful" protest last year over the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Hong Kong has regularly marked the anniversary of Beijing's deadly 1989 repression of protests in Tiananmen Square with huge candlelight vigils.

But last year's event was banned for the first time, with police citing the coronavirus pandemic and security fears following huge democracy protests that roiled Hong Kong the year before.

Tens of thousands defied the ban and massed peacefully at the vigil's traditional site in Victoria Park.

Since then prosecutors have brought charges against 24 prominent democracy activists who showed up at the vigil, the latest in a string of criminal cases that have ensnared the city's beleaguered democracy movement.

On Thursday, four of those activists - Joshua Wong, Lester Shum, Tiffany Yuen and Janelle Leung - were handed jail terms after pleading guilty to unlawful assembly charges last month.

Wong - one of the most recognisable faces of Hong Kong's democracy movement - is already serving a 13.5 month jail sentence for taking part in a protest during the 2019 unrest.

Judge Stanley Chan handed the 24-year-old activist a consecutive 10 months jail for the new conviction which will start once his first sentence is finished.

"The sentence should deter people from offending and reoffending in the future," Chan said.

Remote video URL

Shum was given six months while Yuen and Leung were handed four months.

Wong, Shum and Yuen have also been charged under a new national security law Beijing imposed on the city last year.

Ahead of Thursday's sentencing they were being held in pre-trial detention and face up to life in prison if convicted under the new security law.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.