Hong Kong student leader Wong faces trial over democracy rally
Prominent Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong vowed to continue his fight for democracy Friday as a trial date was set over a protest that sparked mass rallies in the city.
Wong, 19, will face trial in February for the demonstration on Sept. 26 last year which saw students climb into the city’s government complex as part of a campaign for free leadership elections.
It triggered wider rallies that exploded two days later when police fired tear gas to disperse crowds in central Hong Kong.
Wong is charged with “unlawful assembly and inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly,” relating to the Sept. 26 incident.
The teenager was in court Friday for a half-hour hearing which set the trial date for Feb. 29. It is scheduled to last seven days.
Wong could face up to five years in prison if convicted.
“I really hope to use this process in court to raise global awareness for the Hong Kong issue — that we still keep fighting for democracy,” Wong told AFP after the hearing.
Wong, a university student, also faces two other separate cases over protests last year and said the multiple court appearances were “exhausting.”
He has repeatedly described the cases against him as political and has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
A number of activists are facing court cases — fellow student leaders Nathan Law and Alex Chow will also face trial in February over the Sept. 26 protest.