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Friday, Jan 28, 2022

Hong Kong activist back in custody after court finds bail breach

Hong Kong activist back in custody after court finds bail breach

Owen Chow found to have broken bail conditions as he awaits subversion trial for unofficial Legco primary in 2020 alongside 46 other activists and former politicians.

A Hong Kong opposition activist has been remanded in custody again after a magistrate found he had breached bail conditions ahead of his subversion trial.

Owen Chow Ka-shing was placed in handcuffs following the West Kowloon Court hearing on Thursday, nearly seven months after winning bail in a case centred on an unofficial Legislative Council primary election in July 2020.

Acting chief magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen agreed with prosecutors that Chow, 24, had indeed breached the stringent conditions imposed on him, which included restrictions on speech, participation in elections and contact with foreign personnel.

Details of the breach were subject to reporting restrictions.

After the hearing, Chow waved to dozens of spectators sitting in the public gallery, who chanted words of encouragement in return. He reserved his right to reapply for bail on January 19.

Prosecutors have charged 47 activists and former politicians over their roles in the Legco primary, which they described as a “massive and well-organised” plot to paralyse the government and topple the city’s leader.

Chow was among 15 defendants previously granted bail by the High Court, with a list of stringent conditions.

The activist was released on June 22 on a HK$50,000 (US$6,414) bail, in addition to his elder sister paying a surety for the same amount.

At the High Court hearing, Madam Justice Esther Toh Lye-ping barred him from making speeches and committing acts that could be constituted as an offence that endangered national security.

She forbade him from taking part in any elections or contacting foreign politicians and other defendants in the case. The judge also ordered him to report to police every day, and observe a travel ban and seven-hour daily curfew.

The group will stand trial in the High Court on a joint count of conspiracy to subvert state power. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, with a minimum jail term of 10 years being applicable in serious cases.

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