Hong Kong man suspected to be an administrator of a Telegram channel with more than 100,000 members was remanded by a court on Friday after being accused of inciting users to damage police property and interfere with traffic during last year’s anti-government protests.
Ng Man-ho, 26, a computer technician, appeared in Kowloon City Court in the late afternoon where he was formally charged with one count of incitement to cause public nuisance, five counts of incitement to commit arson, and one count of incitement to criminal damage. Each carries a maximum punishment of seven years in prison.
Court documents showed the alleged offences spanned from November 12 of last year to February 4, a time when the city was embroiled in social unrest.
Prosecutors said Ng incited others to cause a nuisance by unlawfully obstructing public places and interfering with traffic lights and the MTR’s train service.
Ng, who was arrested in Hung Hom on Wednesday, was also accused of inciting others to damage police vehicles and set the officers’ quarters on fire.
But he was not required to indicate his plea during his first court appearance, as police are still screening more than 20,000 messages in the Telegram channel, following up on some phone numbers and investigating the three mobile phones, computer and hard disk they seized from him.
The case will return to court on November 20.
Principal Magistrate Ada Yim Shun-yee refused Ng’s bail application and remanded him pending the next hearing.
Superintendent Wilson Tam Wai-shun of the police’s Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau on Friday said the force had seized the channel and removed its contents.
“We are still investigating the case and have identified more suspects that helped run the channel. We do not rule out of more arrests,” Tam said.
He added the force noticed people had been spreading messages on social media since last August intended to provoke hatred, violence and illegal acts.
Tam cautioned members of the public that online activities were also bound by local law.
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