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More than 20 witnesses will link a trio of student protest leaders to the break-in at the Legislative Council grounds - which sparked nearly three months of civil disobedience,

traffic jams and disruptions to schools, businesses and trade in 2014.

The trial of student protest figure Joshua Wong Chi-fung is finally underway at Eastern Magistrates' Court more than a year after the end of the illegal "Occupy Central" movement. Wong appeared in court on Monday to answer charges relating to his role in the Sept 26 invasion of "Civic Square".

Prosecution lawyer David Leung Cheuk-yin intends to prove Wong was instrumental in leading this invasion as well as actively recruiting others to his cause. More than 20 police officers and security guards present at the event, which was captured on cameras, are expected to testify.

The seven-day trial held before judge June Cheung Tin-ngan began on Monday with testimony from Staff Sergeant Tsui Ming-wai and Police Constable Leung Yik-cheung. They provided commentary to film footage of the break-in. Wong was positively identified among a number of youths caught on camera entering "Civic Square", which had been cordoned off.

Tsui and Leung were among eight prosecution witnesses that link Wong to the scene. They detailed the leadership role Wong played that night, using a bullhorn to urge protesters to storm the government compound alongside him as well as encouraging people leaving the scene to remain.

Wong, along with Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang, faces charges of inciting others to participate in an illegal assembly and also taking part in an unlawful assembly.

While Wong pleaded for fellow students to remain and join in the break-in, Law appealed to those in the crowd to spread word of their protest through smartphones and social media in an attempt to recruit more allies, according to the prosecution. The court viewed news interviews of Chow showing him offering justifications for the illegal assembly he was participating in.

The trio pleaded not guilty to all charges linked to the invasion which spawned the illegal "Occupy" movement. This spread from Admiralty to Mong Kok and Causeway Bay before court-ordered injunctions were served to reopen streets.

Wong faces up to five years in prison over the charges. He is already embroiled in several court cases. Wong is due back in court in May, when he will stand trial for a protest which saw dozens of people set a fire outside the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR in June 2014.

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(HK Edition 03/01/2016 page8)

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