Hong Kong: protester convictions overturned


Seven high-profile democracy activists in Hong Kong had part of their sentences thrown out on appeal Aug. 14. They were convicted two years ago over a mass demonstration on Aug. 18, 2019 that drew an estimated 1.7 million people, in defiance of a ban on street protests. The Court of Appeal’s judgement found that just because they were at the front of the procession didn’t mean they had actually organized it. However, their convictions for taking part in the rally were upheld. Martin Lee, Margaret Ng and Albert Ho were given suspended sentences or credit for time served, and were released. But Jimmy Lai, Leung Kwok-hung, Cyd Ho and Lee Cheuk-yan remained in custody, as they also face charges under the National Security Law. (HKFP, PRI, The Independent)

Photo: Iris Wong/Wikimedia

  1. HK court: no sentence reduction for National Security offender

    The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal refused university student Lui Sai Yu’s appeal for a one-third prison sentence reduction on Aug. 22, despite his having pleaded guilty to violating the National Security Law. A one-third prison sentence reduction is typically granted to individuals who plead guilty in Hong Kong. (Jurist)

    Lui was convicted of inciting secession by advocating the Hong Kong’s independence and resistance to the Chinese Communist Party on social media. His is the fourth sentence handed down under the National Security Law. (SCMP)

  2. Student leaders get prison in Hong Kong

    Four former student leaders at University of Hong Kong (HKU) were each sentenced to two years imprisonment for “incitement to wound” over a controversial motion they passed to mourn a man who stabbed a police officer before taking his own life in July 2021. The four had pleaded guilty in September. (Jurist, HKFP)

    On Sept. 12, another HKU student was sentenced to six months in prison for attempting to commit “sedition” by obtaining a banner depicting the Pillar of Shame, which was once displayed in Hong Kong to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. Upon the student’s conviction, the director of the US-based group Human Rights in China, Zhou Fengsuo, admitted that he provided her the banner for planed memorials for the 1989 massacre this June. (Jurist)

  3. Hong Kong: protester shot by police gets 3.5 years in prison

    Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts sentenced Hong Kong protester Tsang Chi-kin to three and a half years in prison Oct. 18 on charges of rioting and assaulting a police officer. Tsang pleaded guilty to both charges on Sept. 28, weeks after he was arrested while attempting to flee to Taiwan via boat. Tsang was shot by a police officer during a National Day protest on Oct. 1, 2019 after he swung a rod at a police officer. (Jurist)

  4. Activist Agnes Chow Ting will not return to Hong Kong

    One of Hong Kong’s most prominent opposition activist, Agnes Chow Ting, revealed on her social media Dec. 3 that she has no plan to return to Hong Kong, despite being required to return by the Hong Kong Police National Security Department (NSD).

    The NSD responded to Chow, condemning her plan to skip bail as against the rule of law. The NSD arrested Chow for suspected “collusion with external elements” under the National Security Law in August 2020. (Jurist)

  5. Hong Kong issues warrant for overseas political commentator

    In another seeming case of Chinese extraterritoriality, the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) issued a warrant Dec. 5 for Martin Oei, an overseas political commentator, for allegedly inciting others not to vote in the recent District Council election. After the issuance of the warrant, Oei revealed on his YouTube channel that he has no plans to return to Hong Kong. (Jurist)

  6. Hong Kong court rejects bid to dismiss Jimmy Lai conspiracy charge

    The Hong Kong High Court has ruled against Jimmy Lai in his challenge against the court’s jurisdiction to hear the charge against him of “conspiracy to sedition on.” The court ruled Dec. 22 that the prosecution brought the charge within the legal time limit because the alleged conspiracy was a continuing act, and the limit only commenced after the cessation of the conspiracy. The trial continues on Jan. 2. (Jurist)


  7. Hong Kong defends National Security Law before UN

    Hong Kong’s government told the UN Human Rights Council in a report Dec. 27 that Hong Kong has taken a “major turn from chaos to governance” since the implementation of the National Security Law. The report was published by the Hong Kong government after three weeks of public consultation in June. (Jurist)

  8. Hong Kong pro-independence activist applies for UK asylum

    Tony Chung Hon Lam, the last convener of Hong Kong pro-independence group Studentlocalism, said on social media Dec. 28 that he had applied for political asylum in the UK. The Hong Kong Correctional Services Department held a press conference the next day, calling upon Chung to obey a supervision order imposed after his conviction under the National Security Law, and return to Hong Kong voluntarily. (Jurist)

  9. Hong Kong court sentences three student offenders

    The Hong Kong High Court sentenced two offenders Dec. 28 to six years for conspiracy to commit terrorist activities. Another defendant, already serving her sentence for another conviction of subversion, received 30 months. The three defendants are currently at the age of 17, 21 and 23, respectively. They were among seven jointly charged over activities reated to the pro-independence group Returning Valiant. (Jurist)

  10. Jimmy Lai lawyers appeal to UN torture rapporteur

    Detained Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai’s international legal team filed an urgent appeal on Jan.4 with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The team alleged that the Chinese authorities tortured a key prosecution witness to coerce him into providing incriminating evidence against Jimmy Lai. (Jurist)

  11. HK deports representative sent to monitor Jimmy Lai trial

    Reporters Without Borders stated April 10 that Hong Kong authorities detained its representative Aleksandra Bielakowska for six hours and later deported her from the territory. Bielakowska was about to attend the trial of Jimmy Lai, the founder of Apple Daily. (Jurist)

  12. Suspect in UK-Hong Kong espionage case found dead

    A suspect on bail for allegedly spying for Hong Kong intelligence services in the UK has been found dead in a park, Thames Valley Police reported May 21. Police noted that the death is “being treated as unexplained.”

    The police identified the deceased Matthew Trickett, from Maidenhead, who was chargedlast week with aiding the Hong Kong intelligence services. Trickett was required to register regularly at a police station while on bail.

    Trickett was charged under the UK National Security Act alongside two others for aiding an intelligence service linked to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government. The group was alleged to have undertaken unlawful information gathering and acts of deception. The Chinese Embassy in London called the accusation a “malicious fabrication” and “unwarranted.”

    Trickett’s death follows multiple instances of alleged malign activity on UK soil by actors linked to the Chinese authorities. Last month, a Parliamentary researcher and an associate were charged with espionage, and last week, the Foreign Office issued a diplomatic summons to the Chinese ambassador over espionage allegations. (Jurist)