Pro-democracy protester Ashley Mok sentenced to jail for anti-Beijing activism

A 20-year-old civil rights activist was sentenced to five months in jail under Hong Kong’s national security law, the city’s Office of Security Media said Sunday.

In a brief statement, the office said Ashley Mok was sentenced on Jan. 3 for abetting the publication of articles and pictures violating the law. The charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison.

Mok’s lawyers will appeal the verdict at the High Court, Lai Weik Sze, one of the defense lawyers, told the South China Morning Post.

Mok came to prominence after he crossed into China in July 2017 to hold a sit-in at an outdoor venue on the eve of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.

The move incensed Beijing, which accused him of betraying the special autonomy bestowed upon Hong Kong.

Mok subsequently drew intense media scrutiny after he gave interviews to local and foreign publications and showed them emails he had received from activists in mainland China.

That leaked information was used by investigators to arrest four activists in Hong Kong and mainland China, who were charged with subversion of state power.

When he was indicted last year, Mok broke down in tears in a news conference in which he begged Hong Kong’s court to acquit him, saying he had never intended to hurt anyone and had never thought his name would be mentioned in a treason case.

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