Photo taken on July 14, 2020 shows the Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong. (Photo/Xinhua)
Five Hong Kong activists, including Joshua Wong Chifung, pleaded guilty on Monday to subversion charges for their involvement in an illegal poll two years ago, which the prosecution said was planned to paralyze the special administrative region government by seizing control of the legislature.
In a case management hearing on Monday, three of them-Jeremy Tam Man-ho, Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu and Kwok Ka-ki－told the High Court that they hope to have their mitigation and sentencing before the trials of their co-defendants who pleaded not guilty to the same charge in the same case.
Meanwhile, Wong and activist Tam Tak-chi remained open about when to receive their sentences.
According to the National Security Law for Hong Kong, the subversion offense carries a maximum penalty of a life sentence. A conviction of an offense of a grave nature could lead to a minimum of 10-year imprisonment.
The five defendants are among 29 activists who expressed their intention to plead guilty to their charges in mid-August at another court hearing.
The remaining 24 will appear in the High Court for case management hearings in batches later.
The 29 are among the 47 participants in the "primary polls "held on July 11 and 12, 2020, including former legislators, district councilors, labor union leaders and businesspeople, who were arrested last January on the charge of "conspiracy to commit subversion" under the National Security Law.
The case report said that by launching the poll, the organizers and participants aimed to help the opposition win a majority in the Legislative Council, which was also a necessary step in their plan to paralyze the special administrative region government.
Eighteen defendants in the case pleaded not guilty, including former lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, Raymond Chan Chi-chuen and activist Leung Kwok-hung.
The legislative elections scheduled for September 2020 were postponed until December 2021 due to the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong.