Four Hong Kong ‘Occupy’ leaders jailed for 2014 democracy protests, Latest World News - The New Paper

Four Hong Kong ‘Occupy’ leaders jailed for 2014 democracy protests

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HONG KONG: A Hong Kong court jailed four leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy protests yesterday amid heightened concerns over the decline of freedoms in the city nearly five years after activists took to the streets in mass protests.

The sentencing of the nine activists followed a near month-long trial that was closely watched as China's Communist Party leaders have put Hong Kong's autonomy under increasing strain, stoking concern among foreign governments, rights groups and business people.

Law professor Benny Tai, 54, and retired sociologist Chan Kin Man, 60, were both jailed for 16 months for conspiracy to commit public nuisance tied to the protests that paralysed parts of the Asian financial centre for 79 days in late 2014 and became known as the Umbrella Movement.

Their sentence had been reduced by two months given their clean criminal record and positive character, Justice Johnny Chan said.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Shiu Ka-chun and activist Raphael Wong were both jailed for eight months for inciting public nuisance.

"We maintain our determination to achieve universal suffrage... this won't change," Wong shouted in court as he was taken away.

Since the city returned to Chinese rule in 1997, critics say Beijing has reneged on a commitment to maintain Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and freedoms under a "one country, two systems" arrangement.

The protesters had demanded that China's Communist Party leaders allow genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong to select its leader.

Police cleared the demonstrators in December 2014, and the authorities granted no democratic concessions. - REUTERS