Hong Kong court charges activist under new national security law
© WIkimedia (Iris Tong)
Hong Kong court charges activist under new national security law

The West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court in Hong Kong charged former pro-independence group leader Tony Chung Thursday with secession, sedition and money laundering, under a new national security law adopted by China’s legislative body in June.

Chung, formerly a member of Studentlocalism, the now-defunct pro-independence group that sought to separate Hong Kong from mainland China, was arrested outside the US consulate for his alleged involvement and activities in the organization. China’s new national security law aims directly at Hong Kong protesters and bans acts such as “secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security,” with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Chung is charged with secession, sedition for allegedly conspiring to publish seditious articles from November 2018 to June 2020, and money-laundering charges for his handling of almost HK $700,000 in the organization. The prosecution has asked that no pleas be taken until his phone, computer and bank statements have been examined further. His bail application was denied under Article 42 of the law, which states that “no bail shall be granted to a criminal suspect or defendant unless the judge has sufficient grounds for believing that the criminal suspect of defendant will not continue to commit acts endangering national security.”

The case is scheduled to be heard on January 7 next year.