The assault on the building marked an escalation in 2019 mass protests that began against a proposed extradition law to China.
A Hong Kong court has found four people guilty of rioting following the storming of the city’s legislative council building, which marked a major escalation of pro-democracy protests more than four years ago.
Hundreds of demonstrators stormed the building on July 1, 2019, after a massive protest march against an extradition bill that would have allowed authorities to send individuals to mainland China to face trial.
After forcing their way in, they tore down portraits of officials from the walls and spray-painted slogans calling for the release of the arrested protesters. An old colonial-era flag was draped over the president’s chair and a plaque bearing the symbol of Hong Kong was blackened with spray paint.
On Thursday, District Court Judge Li Chi-ho found Ho Chun-yin, actor Gregory Wong, Ng Chi-yung and Lam Kam-kwan guilty of rioting.
Student journalist Wong Ka-ho and Passion Times reporter Ma Kai-chung, who were on trial alongside the four, were acquitted of rioting but convicted of illegal entry.
During the trial, Gregory Wong told the court he entered the building only to deliver two chargers to journalists who were covering the protesters’ break-in.
Video evidence played by the prosecution shows Wong left the room immediately after delivering the magazines to a reporter in a yellow vest.
Another defendant, Lam Kam-kwan, told the court he was arrested in China a month after the takeover of Legco and forced to write a letter of repentance.
The officers denied his claims during cross-examination by the defense.
Last May, seven other people, including former Hong Kong University student union president Althea Suen and pro-democracy activists Ventus Lau and Owen Chow, pleaded guilty to rioting and will hand over their declarations. attenuation later Thursday.
They face a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
Although the government ultimately withdrew the extradition bill, the protests, which drew more than a million people to the streets, had already grown in size and demands had broadened to include direct elections for city leaders and police accountability.
The protests posed the biggest challenge to Hong Kong’s government since the city’s return to Chinese rule in 1997 and led Beijing to impose a sweeping national security law in 2020 that saw many politicians and activists from the city’s leading opposition stoppedsilenced or exile.
More than 10,200 people have been arrested in connection with the protests for various crimes, such as rioting and participating in an unauthorized assembly.