HK court convicts 14 pro-democracy activists under security legislation

A Hong Kong court has convicted 14 pro-democracy activists who were tried for their alleged violation of the territory's national security law.

They are among 47 activists, including former pro-democracy legislators, who were charged with subversion three years ago. They were allegedly involved in unofficial primary elections held in 2020 in Hong Kong ahead of an official Legislative Council vote.

On Thursday, many people gathered at the court as the case has been seen as a move in which pro-democracy movements were suppressed in the territory.

The court handed down judgment to 16 people who have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
It supported prosecutors' claim that the defendants tried to force Hong Kong's then Chief Executive to resign by voting down the budget and other bills after winning a legislative majority.

The court found 14 defendants guilty, saying that they had attempted to undermine the functions of Hong Kong's government.

Two people were acquitted.

To date, 31 people, including activist Joshua Wong, have pleaded guilty on the trial. They may receive sentences of up to life imprisonment.

Outside the court building, pro-democracy activists tried to rally for the release of defendants. But they gave up after police ordered them to leave.

Editorial note:
In our initial report, we wrote, "new national security law." We have removed the word "new" to avoid misunderstanding that the convictions were under legislation which took effect in March this year.