Chow Hang-tung jailed for 15 months over June 4 rally

Barrister Chow Hang-tung has been sentenced to a year and three months in prison after being found guilty of inciting others to join a banned vigil at Victoria Park on June 4 last year.

The former vice-chairman of the now-defunct Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China was put on trial over a newspaper article and two social media posts where she called on people to “stand your ground”.

Representing herself in the case, she told the court that she only wanted to appeal for candles to be lit anywhere in the city, even though the rally was banned.

But delivering her verdict, West Kowloon magistrate Amy Chan said the contents of Chow’s articles amounted to “encouraging, persuading and making suggestions to and putting pressure” on the public.

She also said that Chow had “twisted the facts” and was “merely shirking responsibility.”

“With the defendant’s background and academic qualifications, it was impossible for her not to have been able to express the basic proposal for ‘candles to be lit anywhere’ in her publication. It’s simply unbelievable,” the magistrate said.

Chan went on to say that the “stand your ground” comment obviously referred to gathering at Victoria Park, given the Alliance had held June 4 rallies there for three decades.

“The court found that all her acts were obviously calculated and planned, and that she was determined to attract as much public attention as possible, to exert influence and to leave a deep impression on other people,” Chan added.

In mitigation, Chow said that in less than half a year, commemorating June 4 “became a dangerous red line from the bottom line of conscience,” adding she could foresee that all public platforms to discuss June 4 will disappear.

She also told the court that whatever her punishment is, she will continue to say what needs to be said.

Ten months of Chow’s prison term are to be served separately to an earlier sentence for another June 4 case, meaning she will spend 22 months behind bars in total.