TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — At the start of their trial on Wednesday (April 7), Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai (黎智英) and two other prominent pro-democracy political figures pled guilty to allegedly participating in an unapproved gathering.
The trial was originally expected to last for a week, but the three surprisingly pled guilty at the beginning of the court proceedings, Apple Daily reported.
Along with Lai, Lee Cheuk-yan (李卓人), a former member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council and general secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, and Labour Party Vice-Chairman Yeung Sum (楊森) were convicted for an anti-government rally held on August 31, 2019, in protest of the controversial Hong Kong extradition law that led to further erosion of the city's judicial independence.
They were said to have pled guilty and answered the judge's questions in English. Lee even cited a quote from Cuban socialist revolutionary leader Fidel Castro after the court officer listed their charges: "I plead guilty, but I did not do anything wrong. History will absolve us."
The Apple Daily founder is awaiting two other trials relating to illegal assembly, including one that allegedly took place Oct. 1, 2019, and another on June 4, 2020, that commemorated the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, media reported.