Four of the 47 Hong Kong democrats facing trial for subversion under the national security law will soon be released on bail, after the Department of Justice on Friday withdrew its appeal against a magistrate’s decision to release them and 11 others on bail pending trial.
The DoJ on Friday revoked its decision to review Chief Magistrate Victor So’s extension of bail to district councillor Clarisse Yeung, barrister Lawrence Lau, activist Hendrick Lui and businessman Mike Lam.
The four are among 47 pro-democracy figures accused of violating the Beijing-imposed security legislation by committing “conspiracy to commit subversion” in connection with an unofficial legislative primary election held by opposition parties last July.
Yeung, Lau, Lui and Lam will be barred from directly or indirectly making a speech and committing an act that may be reasonably deemed as breaching the national security law or the laws of the HKSAR safeguarding national security.
They are also banned from directly or indirectly organising, participating in or coordinating all levels of governmental or non-governmental elections, except for voting. And they are prohibited from directly or indirectly contacting any foreign officials, members of parliament and their staff.
The four must surrender all travel documents and observe a curfew from midnight to 7 am.
Following a four-day marathon bail hearing at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts, So on Thursday granted bail to 15 of the 47 democrats. But the prosecution immediately filed for a review of the decision, resulting in all defendants being remanded in custody on Thursday night.
The ones who were originally granted bail were set to be brought to the High Court within 48 hours for the bail review. They now number 11 after objections to the four were dropped.
All but seven of those refused bail will appear in front of So again on Friday, March 12, to challenge their denial of bail. If unsuccessful, the group may have to remain in custody for at least three months until the next hearing in the case on May 31, unless they seek bail in the High Court.