Three activists who pleaded guilty in security case want sentencing before co-defendants’ trial

Three former lawmakers among a dozen of pro-democracy figures who have pleaded guilty to a subversion charge, including Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, told the court on Monday that they wish to be sentenced before the trial of their co-defendants.

Meanwhile, two defendants - Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Tam Tak-chi, said they remain “neutral” on when to receive their sentence.

The three former lawmakers Yeung, Jeremy Tam Man-ho, and Kwok Ka-ki, as well as activists Wong and Tam, were among 29 well-known politicians and activists to have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit subversion in June.

The allegation centers on unofficial primary polls held in July 2020 to select opposition candidates for an upcoming Legislative Council election involving 47 Hong Kong pro-democracy figures. The polls have seen 610,000 ballots cast by Hongkongers.

The primaries, which aimed to help the pro-democracy camp secure a majority in the legislature, were said to be part of a conspiracy to allow the democrats to abuse their powers as lawmakers – if elected – to veto budget bills, paralyze government operations and ultimately force the chief executive to resign.

On Monday, Edwin Choy Wai-bond, the defense counsel of the three former lawmakers told the court that the trio would like to make their plea in mitigation and receive their sentence before their co-defendants stood trial at the High Court.

The hearing was held before three designated national security judges Andrew Chan Hing-wai, Wilson Chan Ka-shun, and Johnny Chan Jong-herng.

Choy said the three were anxious after being remanded for a lengthy period of time, adding that the three will each take around 45 minutes for their plea in mitigation.

Meanwhile, the defense counsels for Wong and Tam said they were “neutral” on when to receive their sentence, and that their plea in mitigation will be completed within two hours.

The court has subsequently asked the Department of Justice to advise on Tuesday of its intention for the sentencing schedule.

Wong was a student leader in Hong Kong’s Occupy Movement in 2014, while “Fast Beat” Tam Tak-chi, former People Power vice-chairman, was the first person to be convicted under the colonial-era sedition law.