HONG KONG (AP) — Seven Hong Kong pro-democracy advocates were convicted Thursday on charges of organizing and participating in an unlawful assembly during massive anti-government protests in 2019 that triggered a crackdown on dissent.
The seven include media tycoon and founder of the Apple Daily tabloid Jimmy Lai, as well as 82-year-old Martin Lee, a veteran of the city’s democracy movement. Lai had already been held without bail on other charges related to his pro-democracy activities.
They were convicted for their involvement in a protest held on Aug. 18, 2019. Organizers said that 1.7 million people marched that day in opposition to a proposed bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial.
The activists, apart from those who have been remanded in custody on other charges, were granted bail on condition they do not leave Hong Kong and must hand in all their travel documents.
They will next appear in court on April 16, where mitigation pleas will be heard before sentences are handed down. Taking part in an unlawful assembly or a riot in Hong Kong can result in a maximum sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment for serious offenses.