Chung entered a settlement, pleading guilty to one count of secession and one count of money laundering and pleaded not guilty to one count of solicitation and one other money laundering charge.
The plea gave him a 25% reduction in his sentence, to 40 months for secession and 18 months for money laundering. Only three months after that will be served separately, resulting in a total sentence of 43 months.
“He actively organized, planned and carried out activities aimed at separating the country,” said District Court Judge Stanley Chan.
Prosecutor Ivan Cheung said the defendant acted as an administrator for the Facebook pages of the US branch of Studentlocalism and an organization called the Initiative Independence Party.
The prosecutor said that pro-independence t-shirts, flags and books were also seized at his home. The money laundering allegation involved donations he received via PayPal.
Like other anti-government organizations, Studentism disbanded before Beijing imposed a security law in June 2020, to punish anything it deems subversion, secession, terrorism. and colluding with foreign forces with a life sentence.
Since the enactment of the security law, Hong Kong has rapidly transitioned to authoritarian rule, with most of its democratic politicians now serving prison sentences or self-imposed exile. Dozens of civil society organizations have been established, and several international human rights groups have left the city.
The Chinese and Hong Kong authorities deny the security law tramples on individual rights and say the law is necessary to restore stability following mass street protests in 2019.
The former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise of a high degree of autonomy. Democracy activists and some Western governments argue that China has broken that promise – a charge Beijing vehemently denies.