Hong Kong Jails 12 for Storming Lawmakers’ Building, Reports Say

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(Bloomberg) -- A Hong Kong court on Saturday sentenced 12 people to prison for storming the city’s legislative council building during citywide protests in 2019, local media reported.

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The defendants, who were convicted on July 1 of rioting, included actor Gregory Wong and political activists Ventus Lau and Owen Chow, according to RTHK. The 12 were sentenced to prison terms ranging from more than four years to six years and 10 months, the local broadcaster reported.

Deputy District Judge Li Chi-ho said they had all taken part in the storming of the building on July 1, 2019, and their crimes ranged from being at the scene to acts of sedition, according to the South China Morning Post. Wong was only present at the building for less than five minutes, the judge said, but was considered a participant in the protest, the report said.

The Hong Kong government has cracked down on dissent since the protests ended and is racing to pass a long-shelved security law, known as Article 23, which could create new offenses such as insurrection and external interference. The bill seeks to impose life sentences for crimes such as treason and gives police expanded powers to detain and investigate those suspected of endangering national security.

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