Hong Kong activists jailed over protest

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A Hong Kong court on Wednesday sentenced democracy activist Joshua Wong to three months in prison for contempt, his second prison term stemming from his role in 2014's so-called Umbrella Movement protests.

Before the hearing, Wong said he had "no regrets".

"They can lock up our bodies, but they can't lock up our minds", said Wong, moments before appearing in court. Wong and some others in the case had pleaded guilty past year for failing to comply with a court order to clear out of a protest camp during the 79-day "Umbrella Movement" protests in late 2014.

Wong was among 16 activists found guilty of ignoring a court injunction to leave a protest area during the 2014 Occupy Central, or Umbrella movement.

"He played a leading role on that day", the judge said.

The "Umbrella Movement" brought parts of Hong Kong to a standstill for more than two months, as tens of thousands of mostly student activists called on Beijing to allow fully free elections of future leaders in the semiautonomous Chinese city.

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Fellow activist Raphael Wong was jailed for four months and 15 days over the same incident. Umbrellas became a symbol of defiance when they were used as shields against police pepper spray and batons. Lawyers for both Wongs said they would appeal against the latest sentence, but they were denied an immediate request for bail. "Our determination to fight for genuine universal suffrage will not waver".

High Court Judge Andrew Chan said in the ruling that although Wong only stayed in the camp briefly, his involvement in obstruction was deep and extensive.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam takes shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping after she swore an oath of office on the 20th anniversary of the city's handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, July 1, 2017. Joshua Wong's Demosisto colleague Agnes Chow will contest the Hogn Kong Island seat.

Wednesday's sentencing came after the High Court heard earlier that the activists remained in an "occupied" zone in Mong Kok on November 26, 2014 even after bailiffs announced the court injunction to the protesters and tried to clear the street with police assistance.

Under the deal, citizens have the right to freedom of speech and a partially directly elected parliament, as well as an independent judiciary.