Bailed activist Raphael Wong has said that the Communist Party will not destroy the will of the people, as he encouraged HongKongers to continue speaking out against injustice.

Wong was among eight of the 13 activists granted bail on Friday morning by Hong Kong’s top court pending their application for leave to appeal. They had been jailed over their participation in northeast New Territories protests against development plans that threatened the homes of villagers.

The other activists granted bail include: Keal Lau, Ivan Lam, Kole Chow, Willis Ho, Wong Kan-yuen, Kwok Yiu-cheong and Chan Pak-shan.

raphael wong
Raphael Wong outside the court. Photo: Cloud.

Outside court following their release, Wong thanked his family and the families of the other jailed activists.

He also thanked groups supporting the activists, friends, pro-democracy legislators and those who marched in support of the jailed protesters: “Thank you for walking alongside us during such difficult times.”

kole chow
Freed activist Kole Chow. Photo: Cloud.

“Following these couple of months of imprisonment, what I want to say to everyone is: The Communist Party cannot destroy our will with imprisonment. Our will – what we pursue for society, our values, democracy and justice – they will not change, isn’t that right?”

He told reporters that the first thing he would do is to go for hotpot and claypot lamb brisket.

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The activists outside court. Photo: In-media.

Activist Willis Ho said: “In prison, I saw many who – even though they are criminals – have been so oppressed by the system such that they have no other option, and they take the risk [to commit a crime]. Whether it’s inside or outside – we are not really free. So I really urge those who are facing systematic oppression to unite together, so as to form a force of resistance.”

willis ho
Willis Ho. Photo: In-Media.

Ho thanked her mother and sister in giving her an environment growing up that made her a person who does the right thing, as well as her boyfriend, fellow activist Lester Shum.

“Because we have similar goals and strive towards justice, we face imprisonment – but that’s a common experience in our lives and will make us stronger,” she added.

Ivan Lam
Ivan Lam Long-yin. Photo: In-Media.

Demosisto’s Ivan Lam said that the imprisonment made the jailed activists, as well as their families and friends, stronger and kinder. He also said that it was an important test that showed Hong Kong people the strength of their will.

All 13 activists have filed notices of appeal with the Court of Final Appeal. The other protesters who are still currently in jail are: Sunny Leung, Leung Wing-lai, Chu Wai-chung, Yim Man-wa, and Billy Chiu.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.