Authorities in Hong Kong have transferred 24-year-old democracy activist Agnes Chow to a top-security prison that places Category A prisoners convicted of violent crime in solitary confinement, according to the city’s Apple Daily newspaper.
Chow was sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment in Dec. 2 after pleading guilty to charges relating to “illegal assembly” linked to protests outside Hong Kong’s police headquarters on June 21, 2019.
She was taken after sentencing to the medium-security Lo Wu Correctional Institution near the border with mainland China.
But the Apple Daily cited sources as saying that she has since been transferred to the Tai Lam Women’s Correctional Institution, a Category A facility.
Shiu Ka-chun, who once represented the city’s social welfare sector in the Legislative Council (LegCo) who served an eight-month jail term in connection with the 2014 Occupy Central campaign for universal suffrage, said the move was highly unusual.
Category A prisoners, of whom there are only a few hundred in a city of seven million, are often people who have been convicted of murder or drug trafficking, Shiu told the paper.
“To give you some idea, Cat. A prisoners aren’t even allowed out to attend the funeral of a family member,” he said.
Fellow activist and former 2014 student leader Joshua Wong, who co-founded the now-disbanded political party Demosisto with Chow, is also believed to have been placed in Category A, the report said.
The government’s prison service has given no explanation for Chow’s categorization. She had received a visit from
The Correctional Services Department declined to comment on individual cases, saying only that crimes committed, length of sentence and the extent to which someone was a security risk would all be taken into account, the Apple Daily said.
Its report came two days after a friend of Chow’s posted a video to YouTube about her transfer, saying that pro-democracy District Councillor Tiffany Yuen had paid her a visit in Lo Wu last week, before she was moved.
In 2019, the Correctional Services Department admitted 128 Category A prisoners, of which 86 percent had been convicted of drug-related crimes, and the remaining 14 percent violent crimes including murder and rape.
There were 552 category A prisoners in Hong Kong at the end of the year, according to the department’s annual report.