A Hong Kong pro-democracy politician has announced he is giving up politics as he expects a long prison term under the national security law and other charges.

Former lawmaker Eddie Chu has decided to disband his “Team Chu Hoi-dick of New Territories West” group after consulting the members, his team announced on Chu’s Facebook page on Thursday.

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Eddie Chu. Photo: Eddie Chu, via Facebook.

Chu faces six criminal charges, including one under the Beijing-imposed national security law. The legislation criminalises subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts, with punishment of up to life imprisonment.

Chu and 46 other pro-democracy politicians and activists are charged with “conspiracy to commit subversion” after taking part in an unofficial primary election last July to pick candidates for the since-postponed Legislative Council election.

The former legislator and many other of the defendants have been in custody since February 28. In the post, he said that he “believed [I] may not enjoy freedom for a long period.”

“Eddie will not forget the good times when [I] fought with my comrades, I wish you all well,” the post read.

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File Photo: May James/HKFP.

The group was formed from Chu’s election campaign team in the 2016 Legislative Council election, and won at least seven seats in the 2019 District Council elections.

The pro-democracy camp won 388 out of 479 seats in the district polls in a major blow to the pro-Beijing camp, and currently controls 17 of the 18 councils. China has since imposed electoral changes to eliminate the role which the councils previously played in helping choose the city’s leader.

Yuen Long district councillor Samuel Lai, a member of Chu’s group, told HKFP that the disbandment of the group would not affect the operations of his office.

Another member, Kisslan Chan, said on Facebook that he would always remember Chu and their friendship would never change.

Among several charges Chu faces, he is accused of taking part in an unauthorised assembly on June 4 last year. A total of 24 pro-democracy activists have been charged with either holding, participating in or inciting others to take part in the unauthorised assembly to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.

Four of the defendants have already been sentenced, to between four and 10 months behind bars.

Chu and his fellow defendants will appear in court again on May 31 for the national security law case.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.