Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Joshua Wong and two other prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activists pleaded guilty on Monday over their involvement in protests in the summer of 2019.
Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam pleaded guilty and were jailed ahead of sentencing next week when they each face up to three years in prison, the Hong Kong Free Press reported.
The trio pleaded guilty to charges in connection to a June 2019 demonstration when protesters surrounded the police headquarters in opposition to police brutality. Protesters had taken to the streets against a controversial extradition bill that summer but rallies and marches intensified in response to the violent crackdown by police.
Wong, who has previously served prison terms over his activism, told reporters before heading into the court room on Monday that they planned to plead guilty to the charges and expected to be jailed ahead of sentencing.
"We will continue to fight for freedom, and now it is not the time for us to kowtow to Beijing and surrender," he said.
Wong pleaded guilty to inciting and organizing an unauthorized assembly and Lam admitted to an incitement charge while Chow pleaded guilty in July to inciting others to participate in an unlawful assembly.
On Twitter Sunday, Wong said they decided to plead guilty after speaking with a lawyer but did not say why they decided to do so.
"Cages may lock up our bodies, but never our unwavering souls," he said. "One day our indomitable will return and make us assemble again."
Chow said on Facebook Sunday that she is prepared to go to jail.
"If I am sentenced to prison this time, it will be the first time in my life that I have been in prison," she said. "Although I have been mentally prepared, I am still a little bit scared."
The trio's guilty pleas came amid heightened concerns from Western nations over China's treatment of Hong Kong.
Last week, the Five Eyes intelligence alliance of the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand called on China to repeal a new law that allows for the disqualification of lawmakers over so-called unpatriotic acts. Four politicians were unseated by the law earlier this month causing all remaining pro-democracy lawmakers to resign in protest.
The new law followed China in July implementing a draconian national security law on Hong Kong that raised the ire of human rights organizations and the international community.
China has repeatedly balked at such criticism as attempts to meddle in its internal affairs.