05/19/2021, 13.20
HONG KONG – CHINA
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No freedom for six pro-democracy activists, while ‘supercop’ caught in an unlicenced massage parlour goes scot free

The detained activists are among 10 who pleaded guilty to organising and taking part in an anti-government demonstration in October 2019. By contrast, police boss Frederic Choi is not rebuked for “misconduct”. For Hong Kong’s police, he did not commit any “immoral acts”.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – A district court yesterday denied bail to six of 10 pro-democracy activists accused of organising, participating in and inciting people to take part in an anti-government rally on 1 October 2019.

All the defendants, including media magnate Jimmy Lai, pleaded guilty on Monday. Their sentencing is expected on 28 May.

Judge Amanda Woodcock remanded in custody Albert Ho and Yeung Sum, both former Democratic Party leaders; Civil Human Rights Front coordinator Figo Chan; and Avery Ng, general secretary of the League of Social Democrats,.

The application for release by former lawmaker Sin Chung-kai and Richard Tsoi was also rejected. Tsoi is a leading figure of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, the group that organises the traditional vigil to remember the Tiananmen Square massacre on 4 June each year.

All defendants have been indicted on a number of charges and are set to go on trial for alleged violations of Beijing’s national security law.

Some of them are already in prison. Lai has been detained for months, after he was convicted of threatening national security and participating in two unauthorised protests in August 2019.

Activists Lee Cheuk-yan , “long hair” Leung Kwok-hung, and former lawmaker Cyd Ho are also in prison.

Taking part in peaceful demonstrations has now become an offence in Hong Kong, at least if participants are pro- democracy.

Conversely, Frederic Choi, senior assistant commissioner in charge of the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force, was not penalised after he was caught in an unlicensed massage parlour.

Although visiting such a facility is not a crime in Hong Kong, the 51-year-old senior officer was placed on leave a week ago pending an internal investigation for misconduct. Following the latter, Choi was cleared yesterday of any charge of involvement in immoral acts.

According to local media reports, Choi was among the candidates to replace the current police chief. In February, Carrie Lam honoured the “supercop” for his contribution to national security.

Choi is one of seven Hong Kong officials sanctioned by the United States for undermining the former British colony's autonomy, a move that Lam and China’s central authorities have called unacceptable interference in the country’s internal affairs.

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