Charges 'won't be dropped' against 15 held for HK protests. Image Source: IANS News

Hong Kong, July 13 : Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and 12 opposition figures faced incitement charges on Monday over their roles in the banned June 4 vigil to mark the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The 13 appeared in West Kowloon Court accused of inciting people to take part in an unauthorised assembly on June 4 in Victoria Park, the venue for the city's annual vigil, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper.

Some of the accused stated in court they would plead not guilty to the allegations, despite prosecutors' request to adjourn the case without hearing the defendants' pleas.

Police had banned the annual candlelight gathering for the first time in three decades, citing public health concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lai and three executive members of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, chairman Lee Cheuk-yan and standing committee members Albert Ho Chun-yan and Richard Tsoi, were notified by police a week after this year's event that they would be prosecuted on incitement charges.

Nine other members of the alliance were also told the next day they would be prosecuted on the same grounds.

The 13 will appear in the same court on September 15 pending further police inquiries.

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