Hong Kong barrister and pro-democracy activist Chow Hang-tung has been ordered to remain in custody pending trial for “incitement” in connection with this year’s banned Tiananmen Massacre vigil.
A request by the 36-year-old lawyer – who was representing herself in the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Friday – to have her bail status reviewed was rejected by Magistrate Amy Chan.
Chow was remanded in custody a week ago after she was charged with inciting others through online posts to knowingly participate in an unauthorised assembly on June 4.
According to local media, the vice-chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China also asked the court to lift the reporting restrictions on bail proceedings set out in section 9P of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance. But Chan said she could not see why Chow’s submission would serve the interest of public justice.
The alliance is the organiser of an annual candlelight vigil to commemorate Beijing’s bloody crackdown on student-led demonstrations in 1989. This year’s rally – which was due to be held in Victoria Park on June 4 – was banned by police for the second successive year citing Covid-19 risks. The force made an unprecedented move to seal off the Causeway Bay park by invoking section 17 of the Public Order Ordinance.
Chow was first arrested in the morning of June 4 and was later released on a police cash bail of HK$10,000. But her bail was revoked on June 30, a day before the city marked 24 years since its handover to China. Police also accused her of publicising a banned pro-democracy rally on July 1.
Speaking outside the court, alliance representative, Mak Hoi-wah, said he was disappointed with the ruling, local media reported. He described Chow as being prosecuted for “a crime of speech” and urged the authorities not to “stifle” the freedom of expression of Hongkongers.
Chow retained her right to apply for a bail review every eight days, meaning she may review her bail position again next Friday. The court will hear her incitement case on July 30.