Teen protest leader faces charges
HONG KONG (AP):
Hong Kong police charged teenage student leader Joshua Wong yesterday for his role last year in storming government headquarters, which helped trigger 79 days of pro-democracy street occupations that gripped the Asian financial centre.
Wong, whose Scholarism group played a key role in the protests, reported to a police station where he was charged with inciting and participating in an illegal assembly.
The charges came nearly a year after Wong and dozens of student activists stormed a fenced-off courtyard outside government headquarters during an evening rally to protest Beijing's plan to restrict elections in the semiautonomous Chinese region.
Police arrested Wong and other key leaders, which drove more people into the streets. Two days later, on September 28, police fired volleys of tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds, which only enraged the protesters further and kick-started what came to be known both as the Umbrella Movement and Occupy Central.
Wong posted photos of his police charge sheets on his Facebook account. He is scheduled to appear in a magistrate's court on September 2.
Two other student leaders, Alex Chow and Nathan Law, also face charges relating to illegal assembly over the same incident, according to local media reports. Chow is the former secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, which also played a major role in the protests. Law is the current leader.
Wong, 18, is also expected to appear in court today to face two other charges of obstructing police at a separate, earlier protest in which he and others burned a cardboard copy of a Beijing policy document that asserted full authority over Hong Kong, a former British colony promised a high degree of control over its own affairs until 2047.