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17.05.2019 Europe

Umbrella Movement Leader Sent Back To Jail In Hong Kong

By RFI
REUTERS/Bobby Yip
MAY 17, 2019 EUROPE

Hong Kong student protest leader Joshua Wong has been sent back to prison after he lost an attempt to quash his jail term over huge democracy protests five years ago. However his sentence was reduced to a further two months.

Wong, 22, became one of the most recognisable faces of the "Umbrella Movement" in 2014 which paralysed key intersections of the territory for more than two months.

Protesters were demanding a greater say in how the city is run, including the right for Hong Kong residents to directly elect the city's leader.

The movement took its name from the umbrellas protesters used to defend themselves against police.

It failed to win any concessions from the city's pro-Beijing authorities, and its leaders faced a slew of prosecutions.

Wong, who was 17 when the protests began, was jailed for three months in January 2018 on a contempt charge after pleading guilty to obstructing the clearance of a major protest camp.

He served only six days of that sentence before being released on bail pending an appeal.

On Thursday, however, a senior judge said Wong must return to jail – albeit for a reduced sentence of two months.

Justice of Appeal Jeremy Poon said Wong's age at the time of the offence was a mitigating factor, as well as his guilty plea and apology.

But he dismissed Wong's argument that he had been excessively punished by authorities because of his prominent status as "entirely baseless and misconceived".

Wong turned to supporters after the verdict and told them to "add oil" – a commonly used Chinese phrase of encouragement – before being led away to a prison van.

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