Hong Kong radio personality Edmund Wan Yiu-sing is accused of breaching a colonial-era sedition law by stirring hatred against the local and Chinese governments during an internet programme. His scheduled court appearance on Monday was postponed after the host fell unwell and was hospitalised.
Wan, better known as DJ “Giggs,” was arrested by officers from the national security unit on Sunday. Local media reported on Monday that the 52-year-old was officially charged with four counts of “doing an act with a seditious intention.” The sedition charges are broadly defined in the Crimes Ordinance which was last amended in 1972, when the city was still under British colonial rule.
According to local media, Wan’s alleged offences were linked to hosting and speaking on an internet programme on August 8 and 15, September 5 and October 10 last year. He stands accused having an intent to bring into hatred or contempt, or excite disaffection against the HKSAR government and the government of the People’s Republic of China.
“[T]o raise discontent or disaffection amongst inhabitants of Hong Kong, or to counsel disobedience to law or to any lawful order,” one charge read.
“[To] excite inhabitants of Hong Kong to attempt to procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any other matter in Hong Kong as by law established, or the counsel disobedience to law or to any lawful order,” another charge read.
But the authorities did not give details on what the D100 Radio host actually said or did that was deemed “seditious.”
Local media quoted the prosecution as saying that Wan went to the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital on Sunday night at his request and had to remain hospitalised the next day. He was therefore absent from Monday’s hearing and the case was postponed to Thursday or an earlier date after Wan is discharged.
Last November, Wan, his wife and his assistant were arrested under the Beijing-imposed national security law, which criminalises secession, subversion, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts.
The arrests were reportedly related to a crowd-funding campaign Wan launched last February which supported young Hong Kong protesters involved in the 2019 anti-extradition bill movement to study in Taiwan.
The seldom-used Crimes Ordinance outlaws treason, incitement to mutiny and disaffection and other offences against the British Crown. It was used to arrest another pro-democracy figure Tam Tak-chi last September – the first since the handover – as he faces allegations of “uttering seditious words” by chanting popular protest slogans such as “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” and “Disband the police.”
Those found guilty of uttering seditious words or producing a seditious publication may face a fine of HK$5,000 and two years behind bars for a first offence.