(Bloomberg) -- A Hong Kong court found media tycoon Jimmy Lai guilty for his role in an unauthorized vigil last year for victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, adding to the jailed septuagenarian’s mounting convictions. 

Lai, who pleaded not guilty, faces as many as seven years in prison for the charge of incitement to knowingly take part in an unauthorized assembly. The pro-democracy activist is already serving 20 months in jail for his role in unauthorized assemblies during the 2019 anti-government protests.  

Activists Chow Hang Tung and Gwyneth Ho were both found guilty of taking part in an unauthorized assembly by District Court Judge Amanda Woodcock on Thursday, with Chow convicted of an additional charge of incitement to participate.

Thousands defied a police ban last year to hold the candlelight vigil, which once drew tens of thousands of people annually, including a record 180,000 on the Tiananmen crackdown’s 30th anniversary in 2019. Democracy advocates have accused the authorities of using pandemic restrictions to curb the right to assembly in Hong Kong. 

Lai, founder of the now-defunct pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper, has emerged as a key target in the government’s campaign to suppress dissent and implement a Beijing-crafted national security law imposed on the city. 

Some 155 former opposition lawmakers and pro-democracy activists have been arrested under the law, which passed in June 2020. Lai is facing four charges under the legislation, including conspiracy to collude with foreign forces. Each charge carries sentences as long as life in prison. 

In August, activists Andy Li and legal assistant Chan Tsz-wah named Lai and his former top aide Mark Simon as the “masterminds” behind a campaign to sanction China during the 2019 protest movement. That is likely to strengthen the government’s security law cases against Lai, whose lawyer has denied Chan and Li’s allegations. 

Authorities have charged some 24 individuals for their role in the vigil last year, but Lai, Chow and Ho are the only defendants to have gone to trial. Five who pleaded guilty in the same case will be sentenced on Dec. 13, while the others including former student activist Joshua Wong have been handed jail terms ranging from four to 10 months, with three receiving suspended sentences.  

(Updates throughout)

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.