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Saturday, May 15, 2021

High Court revokes two ex-lawmakers' bail, releases three more defendants

High Court revokes two ex-lawmakers' bail, releases three more defendants

The High Court has reinstated bail previously awarded to three more pro-democracy activists charged over the national security law, but revoked a lower court’s decision to grant temporary freedom to two former opposition lawmakers.
District councilors Tat Cheng Tat-hung, Pang Cheuk-kei and Ricky Or Yiu-lam became the latest defendants to be released from jail on Saturday.

However, Court of First Instance judge Esther Toh Lye-ping overturned West Kowloon Court’s decision to grant bail to Civic Party’s ex-lawmakers Jeremy Tam Man-ho and Kwok Ka-ki.

The five were among 11 of the 47 suspects who have been accused of subversion for their roles in an unofficial primary poll last year.

Last week, West Kowloon Court awarded bail to the 11 but ordered them to stay behind bars after the prosecutor lodged an immediate appeal against the decision.

Two of the 11 were brought before the same judge on Thursday, when former Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan got out of custody and district councilor Ng Kin-wai lost his bail after Toh approved prosecutors’ challenge.

Four other suspects - district councilors Kalvin Ho Kai-ming, Lee Yue-shun, Sze Tak-loy and Sam Cheung Ho-sum – will have their bail reviewed on Monday.

On March 4, Chief Magistrate Victor So Wai-tak granted bail to 15 detainees after four days of marathon proceedings since the 47 were charged.

Prosecutors, initially challenging all of those released, made a U-turn to withdraw their appeal against four of the 15 bailed defendants. The four suspects - district councilor Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying, barrister Lawrence Lau Wai-chung, activist Hendrick Lui Chi-hang and businessman Mike Lam King-nam – were released last Friday.

Alongside the prosecution appealing successful bail bids from some defendants, several others who had not secured their bails at West Kowloon Court are also challenging the decisions to confine them.

Earlier this week, magistrate So rejected bail requests for 11 of the 32 defendants who had not secured their bails, including former lawmakers Leung Kwok-hung and Claudia Mo Man-ching.

They can still seek bail directly at the High Court, together with co-defendants who did not apply to overturn West Kowloon Court’s decision to confine them.

The 47 have been accused of plotting a subversion to paralyze the government and topple the city’s leader by securing a controlling majority in Legislative Council through an unofficial primary. Their next hearing date is set for May 31.

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