Pro-Democracy Activists Denied Bail in Hong Kong Subversion Case
(Bloomberg) -- All 47 of the pro-democracy activists in a Hong Kong subversion case returned to custody Thursday evening after a marathon hearing ended with them being denied bail.
Prosecutors objected to the court’s decision to grant bail to 15 of the defendants, meaning they’ll all remain in detention until the trial begins on May 31. The accused include some of the city’s most prominent activists such asJoshua Wong, Benny Tai and Jimmy Sham.
The announcement came at around 8 p.m. Hong Kong time, with proceedings deep into a fourth day. Chief Magistrate Victor So adjourned the previous night at 8:30 p.m., while on Monday they ran as late as 3 a.m.
Hundreds of people lined up in the rain to enter the courthouse in West Kowloon before the proceedings started Thursday.
“I’m here to show my support, of course,” said a woman in her 30s who asked to be identified by only her family name Siu.
The proceedings come before China’s legislature begins its annual meeting on Friday in Beijing. Top officials have called for lawmakers to revamp the former British colony’s electoral system to diminish the role of pro-democracy politicians and ensure “patriots” are in charge. Hong Kong delegates to the NPC will be briefed Thursday evening on the planned changes, the South China Morning Post reported, citing an official source based in the capital.
The opposition activists are being prosecuted over their roles in helping organize a primary that drew more than 600,000 voters in July last year to choose candidates for Legislative Council elections that were later postponed. Authorities say that vote and plans to force the resignation of the chief executive Beijing appointed, Carrie Lam, using a provision of the mini-constitution were an illegal bid to paralyze the government.
The first day of the hearing ended only when a defendant fainted in the early hours of Tuesday. An extended hearing “along with insufficient time to rest could potentially violate the right to a fair trial,” Amnesty International Hong Kong program manager Lam Cho Ming said earlier.
On Wednesday Hong Kong arrested the 100th person under the security law China imposed on the city last year.
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