Charges against Occupy leaders irks court

Supporters of the Occupy Movement leaders rally outside the court. Photo: RTHK

Supporters of the Occupy Movement leaders rally outside the court. Photo: RTHK

Damon Pang reports

The District Court has asked prosecutors to consider changing or even dropping charges against nine leading Occupy Movement protesters, saying the ones they now face are overlapping.

The nine defendants face three sets of charges related to the pro-democracy movement in 2014.

The Occupy Central founders – Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming – are each charged with conspiring to commit public nuisance; inciting others to do so; and inciting people to incite others to join the protests.

Other defendants are former student leaders Eason Chung and Tommy Cheung, activist Raphael Wong and current and former lawmkers Tanya Chan, Shiu Ka-chun and Lee Wing-tat. They face either one or two counts of the incitement charges.

District Court judge Anthony Kwok said he found the charges to overlap.

Prosecutors argued the charges are put forward based on different evidence. But the judge wasn’t totally convinced and asked for further justification.

Kwok also criticised prosecutors for sending legal documents to the defence late. The judge adjourned the case until mid-September, as the defence asked for more time to study the documents. No plea was taken.

One of the Occupy Central founders, Chan Kin-man, said outside court they haven’t decided whether to plead guilty at this stage. But he said it’s highly likely they won’t because some of the allegations are unreasonable.