8 HK activists including Jimmy Lai sentenced to 4.5 to 14 months in an unauthorized assembly case
Published: Dec 13, 2021 06:16 PM
 Jimmy Lai pushes through media after being released on bail in Hong Kong on August 12. Photo: AFP

Jimmy Lai pushes through media after being released on bail in Hong Kong on August 12. Photo: AFP

Jimmy Lai, the imprisoned owner of Next Digital Media, was sentenced on Monday to another 13 months in prison over an unauthorized assembly in 2020. 

The Hong Kong District Court sentenced Lai and seven other defendants to between four-and-a-half months and 14 months in jail for their role in an unauthorized assembly last year. 

Lai was found guilty of inciting others to join an unauthorized assembly on June 4, 2020, according to the District Court’s decision. The other defendants were convicted for knowingly participating in or inciting others to join the assembly. 

Lai is already serving prison terms of 20 months over three other unauthorized assemblies. He still faces multiple charges, including colluding with foreign forces and endangering national security. 

Chow Hang-tung, ex-vice chairman of the now-defunct Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China (HK Alliance), was sentenced to 12 months in prison, and former member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council Lee Cheuk-yan received 14 months. 

Judge Amanda Woodcock said the defendants had posed a threat to public health safety by breaching a police ban on the rally and deterrent sentences were needed. 

The HK Alliance’s request to hold the vigil on June 4, 2020 in Victoria Park was rejected by the Hong Kong Police Force, citing epidemic concerns. However, hundreds still gathered despite the ban, with many shouting protest slogans and pushing down barriers set up by police. 

A total of 26 people have been charged of knowingly participating, unlawfully inciting others to participate, and/or holding an unauthorized assembly. Apart from Nathan Law and Sunny Cheung, who absconded overseas, Lai, Chow and former opposition politician Gwyneth Ho are the only ones who pleaded not guilty among these defendants.