University of HK student bailed on terrorism charge relating to controversial stabbing motion is at low risk of reoffending or absconding, judge rules

21-Sep-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:02 AM Print This Post

A judge granted bail to a University of Hong Kong student leader, accused of promoting terrorism by passing a motion mourning a man who stabbed a police officer before killing himself, after finding his risk of absconding or reoffending was “not high”.

Madam Justice Esther Toh Lye-ping, of the High Court, on Monday explained why she had upheld a magistrate’s decision to release arts student Anthony Yung Chung-hei on bail, citing in her judgment his record as an outstanding pupil who would be welcomed back to the university.

The 19-year-old was among four university student union council members charged with advocating terrorism and an alternative count of incitement to wound with intent, for passing a July 7 motion in praise of Leung Kin-fai, who killed himself after stabbing a police officer. The judge described the knifing on July 1 as “a serious and shocking attack”.

Yung was granted bail by Principal Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen on August 19, but remanded in custody following objections from the prosecution, until Toh reviewed the case and released him on August 27.

His co-defendants are: student union president Charles Kwok Wing-ho, 20; student union council chair Kinson Cheung King-sang, 19; and residential hall representative Chris Todorovski Shing-hang, 18. All three have been denied bail.

The four were the first to be charged with advocating terrorism since the Beijing-imposed national security law, which also bans acts of subversion, secession and collusion with foreign forces, took effect on June 30 last year.

At the review hearing last month, acting deputy director of public prosecutions Anthony Chau Tin-hang submitted that Yung did not just attend the meeting and vote for the motion, but had stressed that Leung and those identified as terrorists by the Communist Party were heroes.

The prosecutor also drew the court’s attention to Yung’s eagerness to take part in politics and his affiliation with the localist faction and support for the concept of resistance.

Defence counsel Hectar Pun Hei SC countered that Yung was not an executive member of the student union and had promptly tendered his resignation as the representative of the Arts Association after the resolution was withdrawn on July 9.

Pun also noted that Yung came from a humble and decent family of hardworking individuals his father had been a teacher for 32 years and his mother, a social worker for 31 years, while both of his brothers were also attending university.

The counsel further pointed out that Yung was consistently outstanding in his academic performance. He added that Yung would be welcomed back to the university to start the new semester if granted bail, as could be seen from a letter from the dean of student affairs, Samson Tse Shu-ki.

In a five-page judgment, Toh concluded that Yung’s risk of absconding or reoffending was “not high” in view of his background.

Yung was released on HK$50,000 (US$6,400) bail plus two sureties of HK$50,000 each, with strict conditions that he surrender his travel documents, obey a curfew, not publish or do anything reasonably believed to endanger national security, and not give any media interviews.

All four defendants are expected to return to court on October 15.

Both Toh and Law have been designated to handle national security law cases.


Category: Hong Kong

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