Landmark case for 47 Hong Kong democrats adjourned until June

Via Reuters

HONG KONG, April 28 (Reuters) – A landmark national security case involving 47 Hong Kong democrats was adjourned on Thursday to June 1-2, with many of the defendants having been in custody since February last year and facing the possibility of months more on remand.

Reporting by Jessie Pang and James Pomfret; Editing by Robert Birsel
Hong Kong Free Press write

Hong Kong’s high-profile subversion case involving 47 leading democrats has been adjourned to June, days after a court judgement revealed at least 11 of them would plead guilty to the offence under the Beijing-imposed national security law.

Raymond Chan 47 democrats
Raymond Chan on April 28, 2022. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP

Most of the group have been held in custody since their arrest in February last year and their cases have been repeatedly adjourned. Only 13 of them have been granted bail.

The democrats, accused of conspiracy to commit subversion, appeared before Principal Magistrate Peter Law on Thursday. The court is handling proceedings to commit them to the High Court, where the maximum penalty is life in prison.

Sze Tak Loy 47 democrats
Sze Tak Loy on April 28, 2022. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP

Among those in the dock were former law professor Benny Tai, activist Joshua Wong, former lawmakers Lam Cheuk-ting, Claudia Mo and Alvin Yeung, journalist-turned activist Gwyneth Ho and other democrats. Three defendants did not attend the hearing at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts, but the court did not state the reason for their absence.

Tat Cheng 47 democrats
Tat Cheng on April 28, 2022. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP

The case involves an unofficial primary election held in July 2020, a month after the security law came into force, to select the best opposition candidates to contest an upcoming Legislative Council election. The democrats were said to have organised or taken part in it with a view to abusing their powers as lawmakers – if elected – to veto the budget, paralyse government operations and eventually force the chief executive to step down.

Helena Wong 47 democrats
Helena Wong on April 28, 2022. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP

High Court Judge Esther Toh called on the lower court to give the democrats a speedy trial in a bail judgement handed down on Tuesday. Toh, one of the city’s designated national security judges, said she was concerned that the case has seen a “long delay” with most defendants being held in custody pending trial.

Mike Lam 47 democrats
Mike Lam on April 28, 2022. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP

In the same judgement, Toh revealed that 11 defendants had signalled they intend to plead guilty to the charge when the case is officially committed to the High Court.

Read full article

47 democrats’ subversion case adjourned to June