Nine leaders of the huge 2014 protests were today found guilty of public nuisance offences, with the semi-autonomous Hong Kong authorities under pressure from Beijing.
The nine were among the organisers of the "Occupy Central" campaign, a peaceful sit-in that became known as the "Umbrella Movement". Protesters had demanded the right to freely nominate candidates for Hong Kong's leader.
However, they failed to win any concessions. Carrie Lam was selected in 2017 as a Beijing-approved candidate and ultimately became chief executive.
The defendants, ranging in age from their 30s to 70s, all denied the public nuisance charges, saying the prosecutions were politically motivated.
Three were jailed for 16 months, with one having the sentence suspended for two years. Two were jailed for eight months and two were given eight-month suspended sentences.
Another was ordered to do 200 hours of community service, while a ninth defendant had her sentencing postponed because she needs to have surgery.
Raphael Wong, who was jailed for eight months, told judge Johnny Chan: “Thank you for the sentencing. Our determination on fighting for genuine universal suffrage will not change.”
Maya Wang, a Hong Kong-based researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the sentences were a “chilling warning” for pro-democracy activists.
She added: "The Beijing and Hong Kong authorities appear intent on eliminating the only pocket of freedoms on Chinese soil."
Joshua Wong, who as a teenager rose to worldwide prominence for his part in the 2014 protests – for which he was convicted in 2017 – tweeted: “Hongkongers are in the endgame now.”
The UK handed Hong Kong over to Chinese rule in 1997, under an agreement in which China promised the territory could retain its own laws, economic system and civil rights for 50 years.