Hong Kong’s anti-corruption watchdog arrested activist Avery Ng on Monday for allegedly disclosing the identity of a person that it is investigating.

Ng, chair of the pro-democracy League of Social Democrats, was accused of violating a law that prohibits anyone from disclosing to the public the identity of people being investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Avery Ng
Avery Ng. File Photo: League of Social Democrats.

Last April, local media alleged that Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee had a conflict of interest when exchanging properties with a tycoon and benefiting from the price difference.

Ng reported to the ICAC following news reports and was later invited to the ICAC offices to give a testimony. He told the press at the time that he could not disclose anything, except that he hoped Fung would give a public explanation, Oriental Daily reported.

The 40-year-old activist was arrested on Monday morning for his remarks and taken to the the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts in the afternoon. Ng’s party colleagues – including lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung – turned up in support of the embattled activist.

“Since the Legislative Council elections last September, it is the third time law enforcement agents have searched my home and arrested me. They keep coming up with charges that are just excuses,” Ng said following his arrest.

avery ng long hair
Avery Ng (second right) and others held a banner saying “There are no shortage of charges if you want to indict someone.” Photo: League of Social Democrats, via Facebook.

“The Chinese Communist Party will not allow Hong Kong to have a breathing space. But sorry, I’m not easily defeated. The more oppressive you are, the more determined I am, and the more resistance I will commit myself to,” he added.

The ICAC confirmed on Monday that Ng was arrested and charged with three counts of disclosing to the public the identity of persons under investigation, an offence under section 30 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of a HK$20,000 fine and a year behind bars.

The court will hear the case on May 8. Ng has been released on bail.

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.