Last Friday, Lai and eight other pro-democracy figures were sentenced to prison terms ranging from eight to 18 months. They were convicted of organizing and taking part in an unauthorized assembly on Aug. 18, 2019, when huge crowds marched peacefully from Causeway Bay to Central.
The Democratic Party’s founding chairperson, Martin Lee, and its former chair, Albert Ho, have also filed appeals against their convictions and sentences in this case.
Lai received a 12-month jail term, while Lee and Ho were sentenced to 11 months and 12 months, respectively. Lee and Ho were among four defendants whose sentences were suspended by Judge Amanda Woodcock, which meant that they were not put behind bars.
On the same day, Lai received another eight-month prison term for taking part in a separate protest on Aug. 31, 2019. Parts of his two sentences will be served concurrently, resulting in an overall sentence of 14 months.
Lai’s appeal will challenge the rulings in both protest cases.
Unauthorized assembly in Hong Kong carries a maximum penalty of five years behind bars. Woodcock said in her ruling last week that imprisonment was the only suitable option, because even peaceful protests came with risks of violence.
Critics warn older, disabled and homeless people risk being unfairly denied democratic say