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Thursday, August 27, 2015, 14:55

Activists charged over illegal rally that led to 'Occupy Central'

By Kahon Chan in Hong Kong

Activists charged over illegal rally that led to 'Occupy Central'
Student leader Joshua Wong speaks outside the Wanchai police station in Hong Kong on Jan 16, 2015. ( AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez)
The trial of organizers of last year’s “Occupy Central” protests is imminent as police pressed unlawful assembly charges on Thursday against student leaders who helped launch the illegal blockades.

The charges were linked to the storming of the government headquarters on Sept 26, 2014. Dozens of young protesters, toward the end of a class boycott rally held on Tim Mei Road in Admiralty, climbed over high fences and besieged an open piazza of the adjacent Legislative Council complex in Tamar.

Joshua Wong Chi-fung, convener of student activist group Scholarism, stimulated the action at the rally. He was arrested by police at the scene, which led to a traffic-stopping protest two days later by his supporters.

Road blockades spread to Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay later on Sept 28. The main protests at Admiralty were cleared last December under court orders, but the last camp outside the Tamar complex remained until June.

The police, nearly a year later, made the next move on Thursday against Wong and two top members of the Hong Kong Federation of Students.

Wong was charged with participating and inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly. The federation’s incumbent secretary-general Nathan Law Kwun-chung, who was a committee member of the federation last year, shares the inciting charge.

Law’s predecessor Alex Chow Yong-kang was charged with one count of taking part in an unlawful assembly. Chow and Law were each released on HK$500 bail, while Wong was granted habeas corpus previously by the High Court and released immediately.

The three will appear at Eastern Magistrates’ Court next Wednesday morning. Chow plans to deny the charge, while Wong’s lawyer will apply to adjourn the case permanently.

Wong and Law will also appear before the Eastern court today for a pre-trial review of obstructing police charges. The young activists, alongside People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip, were arrested for a protest outside the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong last year.
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