HK national security law: bail blow for another defendant in city’s largest prosecution under Beijing-imposed legislation, others drop their bids

20-Mar-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 7:02 AM Print This Post

Opposition district councillor Andy Chui Chi-kin, one of the 47 charged in Hong Kong’s largest crackdown to date under the national security law, was denied bail on Friday for the second time, while five co-defendants withdrew their applications at the last minute.

Madam Justice Esther Toh Lye-ping threw out the bail bid from Chui, the first defendant in the subversion case relating to last year’s unofficial primary election to apply to the High Court directly for temporary release.



She will give her full reasons in a written judgment to be handed down. Chui shook his head upon hearing the ruling and waved to his elderly parents, wife and brother before leaving the dock, as others in the public gallery shouted support.

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Earlier on Friday, five of Chui’s co-defendants returned to West Kowloon Court for a scheduled bail review before Chief Magistrate Victor So Wai-tak, only to withdraw their applications.

They are former lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting; activist Gordon Ng Ching-hang; district councillors Fergus Lam Fong-wai, and Henry Wong Pak-yu; and primary election run-off candidate Gwyneth Ho Kwai-lam.

Only Lam and Ng reserved their right to apply for another bail review in eight days, while the other three have given up. The next hearing will be on March 25. Lam said he halted his application because he needed more time to make his case.

The group, who will remain in custody, waved and smiled at their relatives and friends in the public gallery as they left the courtroom.

The six are among 47 opposition politicians and activists who have been charged with conspiracy to commit subversion, over their roles in what prosecutors described as a subversive plot to paralyse the government and topple the city’s leader by securing a controlling majority in the Legislative Council through an unofficial primary election last July.

They were first taken to court on March 1, which led to a four-day marathon hearing, ending with So granting bail to 15 defendants, rejecting applications from 31 others, and remanding all of them in custody after prosecutors challenged the successful bids.

The next day, prosecutors made a U-turn and withdrew their review applications against four of them, releasing the first defendants charged under the Beijing-imposed law, which came into effect last June to ban acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

In three subsequent sessions of review proceedings in the High Court starting last Thursday, Toh upheld So’s decision in respect of seven defendants and revoked four others.

A total of 11 defendants have been released on bail in the present case, before the latest round of applications on Friday.

All 47 of them are expected to return to court before So on May 31.



Category: China, Hong Kong

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