03/05/2021, 13.33
HONG KONG – CHINA
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Four pro-democracy activists (out of 47) free on bail

The prosecution drops appeal against bail, which was denied outright to 31 defendants. A number of conditions have been imposed, plus bail money.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Four pro-democracy activists out of 47 arrested on "subversion" charges were granted bail after prosecutors dropped their appeal against them.

The four are Hendrick Lui Chi-hang and Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying, barrister Lawrence Lau Wai-chung, and Mike Lam King-nam, owner of a chain of Thai food stores.

Until yesterday, the prosecution had appealed against bail for 15 of the 47, which Chief Justice Victor So had granted under certain conditions.

For the other 31, the judge said he did not have sufficient grounds to believe that they would not "continue" to endanger national security.

Today the prosecution dropped its objections against the four who will be free in the evening after all release procedures are carried out.

The hearing for the other 11 is set for tomorrow. The bail applications for the whole group lasted four days, until late last night.

According to media reports, the conditions, set last night, include a ban on doing or saying anything that could harm national security, obeying a curfew, reporting to police several times a week, surrendering travel documents and avoiding any contact with foreign officials.

The cash bail amounts they were told to pay range from HK,000 (US$ 10,300) to HK million (US$ 130,000).

The 47 had organised a primary election in July 2020 for the pro-democracy camp ahead of Hong Kong’s September parliamentary elections (later postponed).

According to prosecutors, by organising that vote, designed to secure 35 or more seats for pro-democracy candidates in the Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo), the defendants had "plotted" to seize power from the current administration of Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Meanwhile, people gathered outside the West Kowloon courthouse to express solidarity with the defendants with banners saying “Release all political prisoners” (pictured).

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