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Six Hong Kong Democrats Remanded in Custody Over Banned 2019 National Day Demonstration

Figo Chan arrives at the District Court on May 18, 2021. Credit: Kelly Ho/HKFP.
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KELLY HO | HONG KONG FREE PRESS

The six are part of a group of 10 defendants – including media tycoon Jimmy Lai – who pleaded guilty on Monday to organising a demonstration which saw thousands of protesters take to the streets in defiance of a police ban

Hong Kong protest coalition leader Figo Chan and five other pro-democracy figures have been remanded in custody pending sentencing for organising an unauthorised National Day assembly in 2019.

On Tuesday, District Court Judge Amanda Woodcock refused to grant bail to Chan, former Democratic Party chairmen Albert Ho and Yeung Sum, activist Avery Ng, ex-lawmaker Sin Chung-kai and Richard Tsoi of the Hong Kong Alliance.

They were among a group of 10 democrats who pleaded guilty on Monday to organising a demonstration on October 1, 2019, when thousands of protesters took to the streets in defiance of a police ban.

Albert Ho October 1 unauthorised assembly trial
Albert Ho arrives at the District Court on May 18, 2021. Credit: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The other defendants in the case were media tycoon Jimmy Lai, veteran activist Lee Cheuk-yan and former legislators “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and Cyd Ho. They are currently serving jail terms for other offences, while Lai and Leung are also facing trial under the national security law.

On the second day of the trial, lead prosecutor Priscilia Lam spent around two hours playing video footage linked to the unauthorised assembly. The clips showed Chan, Leung, Lee and Albert Ho telling reporters that they would march from Causeway Bay to Chater Road in Central as an act of “civil disobedience” against police objections.

In the footage the four were seen marching with banner in their hands and leading the crowds to chant slogans such as “five demands, not one less.” They admitted guilt on Monday to “incitement to knowingly take part in an unauthorised assembly.”

The prosecution also played videos showing black-clad protesters setting up roadblocks along the route of the march and chanting profanities at police.

October 1 unauthorised assembly trial Richard Tsoi
Richard Tsoi arrives at the District Court on May 18, 2021. Credit: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

After Woodcock denied bail to six of the defendants, family and supporters of the democrats present in court shouted: “Shameful political prosecution! No rioters, only tyranny!”

Some also yelled profanities at lawyers in court who were representing the Department of Justice.

Chan responded by shouting: “Hongkongers, persist!”

Ng’s conviction by his own plea on Monday meant the activist breached a 14-day suspended jail sentence over an unlawful assembly in 2016. The court will review the punishment for such a violation, it is likely that his prison term – handed out in September 2019 and originally suspended for 12 months – will be activated.

Avery Ng October 1 unauthorised assembly trial
Avery Ng arrives at the District Court on May 18, 2021. Credit: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The case was adjourned until next Monday for defence lawyers to make pleas in mitigation, while sentencing is scheduled for Friday, May 28.

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