Hong Kong activist’s bail revoked for remarks ‘endangering national security’
By Jessie Pang
HONG KONG (Reuters) -A Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, among a group of 47 campaigners charged with conspiracy to commit subversion, had his bail revoked on Thursday after he was re-arrested on suspicion of making remarks endangering national security.
The 47, accused of conspiring to subvert the government by organising a primary election for the opposition camp in 2020 to select candidates for legislative polls, were arrested in March last year in a high-profile swoop by security police.
Most have been held in jail pending the resumption of their case in March this year, but 15 were released on bail, including Owen Chow, 24, who was freed in June. His bail conditions included not breaking the security law, reporting to police every day and surrendering all travel documents.
He was arrested during his regular visit to a police station late on Wednesday and brought to the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday, where Magistrate Peter Law revoked bail.
“The National Security Division of the Police Force arrested the man … on suspicion of breaching the court’s bail conditions,” police said in an emailed statement on Thursday.
“He was suspected of making remarks and actions that could reasonably be regarded as endangering national security during the bail period,” it said, without specifying the remarks.
Chow represented himself in court. Hong Kong laws prohibit publication of the contents of bail hearings. He could not be reached before he appeared in court.
The primary poll Chow took part in was unofficial, non-binding and independently organised. Authorities said it was a “vicious plot” that threatened national security and contravened the national security law imposed by Beijing in June 2020.
The vote for seats in the Legislative Council, initially due in 2020, was postponed, with authorities citing the coronavirus. It was finally held in December 2021 under new rules imposed by Beijing so that only loyal “patriots” could run.
Diplomats and rights groups are closely watching the court case amid mounting concerns over judicial independence, seen as one of the pillars of Hong Kong’s financial success. Authorities have repeatedly said the judiciary is independent and upholding the rule of law.
(Writing by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Peter Graff)