Hong Kong activists: 15 of 47 granted bail but remain detained pending appeal

Demonstrators gathered outside the West Kowloon court building in Hong Kong

Fifteen of 47 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists charged with subversion have been granted bail after a marathon hearing, but the entire group remains in custody pending an appeal.

They were charged under a new security law that critics say is being used by Beijing to crush dissent in the city.

China passed the law last year, saying it was required to bring stability.

The activists – 39 men and eight women – were among a group of 55 people arrested in dawn raids last month.

All 47 activists will remain in custody while the department of justice appeals against the bail ruling for the 15.

The activists are facing up to life in prison for the charge of conspiring to commit subversion, in the most sweeping application yet of the new national security law.

They include veterans of the protest movement like academic Benny Tai and politician Leung Kwok-hung, as well as younger protesters like Gwyneth Ho, Sam Cheung and Lester Shum.

China’s new law: Why is Hong Kong worried?

A marathon bail hearing for the 47 defendants began on Monday, continuing late into the night for three consecutive nights.

Police officers were deployed on Monday to control the crowds as pro-democracy supporters queued for seats at the court.

Media coverage of the hearing has been heavily restricted, and an appeal to lift the restrictions was rejected on Thursday.

Pro-democracy activist Ben Chung Kam-lun walks to a prison van to head to court on Thursday

The defendants are accused of running an unofficial “primary” election last June to pick opposition candidates for 2020 legislative elections, which the government then postponed.

Chinese and Hong Kong officials have claimed the primary was an attempt to overthrow the government.

About 100 people have so far been arrested under the security law, including prominent China critic and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who was denied bail and is in detention awaiting trial.

Amnesty International described the January raids that detained the 55 as “the starkest demonstration yet of how the National Security Law has been weaponised to punish anyone who dares to challenge the establishment”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close