A Hong Kong teenager has been remanded in custody over an alleged conspiracy to produce seditious publications.
Wong Chun-wai, a 17-year-old secondary school student, was arrested on Sunday under the Crimes Ordinance and appeared in West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Tuesday along with 45-year-old Chloe Cho.
The pair are accused of conspiring to print and distribute materials last year to excite Hong Kong inhabitants to “attempt to procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any other matter in Hong Kong as by law established, or to counsel disobedience to law or to any lawful order.”
Cho and Wong were arrested by the national security branch of the police force, and the prosecution said that the materials in question were a danger to national security.
Wong did not have any legal representation when he first appeared in court, and was later given a duty lawyer. Chief Magistrate Victor So denied bail to both defendants. Wong will appear in court for a bail review next Tuesday, while the next mention hearing will be held on August 4.
Under court reporting restrictions, written and broadcast reports are limited to only include the result of a bail proceedings, the name of the person applying for bail and their representation, and the offence concerned.
Hong Kong’s sedition laws – which fall under the Crimes Ordinance – are different to the Beijing-imposed national security law. The sedition charge was last amended in 1972 when the city was still under British colonial rule. It outlaws treason, incitement to mutiny and disaffection and other offences against the British Crown.
Whereas the national security law criminalised subversion, secession, foreign interference and terrorist acts, which were broadly defined to include disruption to public transport and other infrastructure.
Activist and DJ Tam Tak-chi was also charged under the law for “uttering seditious words.” He has been remanded in custody pending trial since his arrest in September last year. Another radio host, Wan Yiu-sing, better known as “Giggs,” was also facing a charge of “seditious intent.” Wan has been remanded in custody since February.