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Hong Kong Student Protest Leaders Avoid Jail Time

Three Hong Kong student protest leaders, from left, Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow walk out from a magistrate's court in Hong Kong, Monday, Aug. 15, 2016.

Three Hong Kong student activists received sentences Monday for their roles in leading the the pro-democracy "Umbrella Revolution" street demonstrations in 2014.

Joshua Wong and Nathan Law were convicted last month for taking part in an unlawful assembly. They were sentenced to several hours of community service.

Alex Chow, who was found guilty of inciting others to join an unlawful assembly, received a three-week prison sentence, but Magistrate June Cheung suspended it for a year because Chow will be studying in Great Britain.

Cheung said she handed down the light sentences because the trio had no prior convictions and were acting out of genuine concern for social issues.

The three scaled the Hong King government complex fence in September 2014 to protest on a courtyard known as Civic Square for full and free elections for the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

That action led to a massive sit-in along Hong Kong's major streets that brought much of the territory to a standstill for 79 days, gaining its name from the umbrellas protesters used to shield themselves from police tear gas and pepper spray.

Pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong are becoming increasingly worried that Beijing is moving to erode the territory's civil liberties, which have been in place since Britain returned control of Hong Kong to China in 1997.