47 to stand trial under security law in HK
Hong Kong police prosecuted 47 people, who were arrested in January, for “conspiring to subvert state power.”
The defendants, 39 men and eight women aged between 23 and 64, will stand trial in West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts today.
The police arrested 53 people last month on suspicion of “subverting state power” under the national security law in Hong Kong for organizing and participating in the so-called “primary election” last year aimed at selecting candidates for a legislative council election. Authorities said that their participation was part of a plan to paralyze the city’s legislature and subvert state power.
Those arrested included anti-China disrupter Benny Tai, former opposition lawmakers Wu Chi-wai, Lam Cheuk-ting, James To and Alvin Yeung.
Joshua Wong was among those charged. Police informed him in his prison cell, where he is currently serving a sentence for organizing protests in 2019.
Local political group “Power for Democracy,” which organized the illegal primary, announced on Saturday it was ceasing operations and disbanding the organization. It also vowed to serve the city under the Basic Law and the national security law for Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong police said 99 individuals have been arrested for suspected violations of the security law so far. The law criminalizes acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers to intervene in Hong Kong’s affairs. Serious offenders could face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
Some of the arrested, including media mogul Jimmy Lai, have been denied bail despite protracted legal appeals.
“Being formally charged also means that their political careers are over,” Tang Fei, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, told the Global Times.
It will also lead to some seats being vacated in the upcoming district council and LegCo elections, as central and local authorities mull electoral reforms with the aim of ensuring the fundamental principle of patriots governing Hong Kong.
A two-day symposium is being held in the southern city of Shenzhen to solicit opinions on improving the special administrative region’s electoral system and upholding “patriots governing Hong Kong.”