Activist jailed 16 months for organising 2019 march

Activist Max Chung was on Wednesday jailed for 16 months after he pleaded guilty to organising an unauthorised assembly in Yuen Long almost three years ago.

The 42-year-old had been remanded in custody for eight months after he was charged with organising and joining the banned “Reclaim Yuen Long” march on July 27, 2019.

The District Court noted that police had objected to the protest, and that Chung had appealed against the ban and held several press conferences at the time.

Judge Amanda Woodcock said it was an aggravating factor that Chung had used “inflammatory” language at the press conferences to covertly encourage people to join the protest, which suggested that he had made a conscious decision to break the law.

The judge also said some people who had taken part in the march later deviated from the planned route, with some armed protesters engaging in confrontations with the police and barricading police vehicles afterwards.

Woodcock said the fact that the prosecution had only pressed charges against Chung two years after the incident was not an intentional delay, and ruled that Chung had not been prejudiced. She said it took time for the police to watch over 160 hours of video footage and collect evidence.

Taking into account the number of people who took part in the protests and the damage caused, the judge set the starting point of Chung’s jail sentence at two years, but reduced it to 16 months due to his guilty plea.