A University of Hong Kong (HKU) student leader has been granted bail ahead of his trial under the national security law, after the High Court rejected a prosecution challenge to his admission to bail by a lower court last week.

HKU student Anthony Yung, 19, appeared before Madam Justice Esther Toh on Friday for a bail review filed by the city’s prosecutors. He is among four student leaders arrested and charged with “advocating terrorism,” in connection with a controversial student council meeting that passed a now-retracted sympathy motion for a man who committed suicide after stabbing a police officer.

High Court judiciary
Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

After hearing submissions from Acting Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Anthony Chau and Yung’s lawyer Hectar Pun, Toh ruled that there were sufficient grounds for believing that the Year 2 student would not continue to commit acts endangering national security.

A written judgement will be handed down later, Toh said.

Yung, who had been in custody since his arrest last Wednesday, was released on a HK$50,000 cash bail. His mother and uncle also offered HK$50,000 each as surety.

Toh ordered Yung to follow a list of conditions while on bail, including refraining from taking up any executive role in any HKU student organisation, surrendering his travel documents and observing a curfew between 10.30 p.m. and 6 a.m. He is also barred from staying in the university’s student residence, must not accept media interviews and has to report to Wong Tai Sin police station several times a week.

Dressed in a white hoodie, the former Faculty of Arts representative to the student council nodded at people inside the court room while seated in the dock. His parents and his uncle stood up briefly and bowed to the judge when they were mentioned in the hearing.

Others on trial

Facing trial under the Beijing-imposed security legislation alongside Yung are former HKU student union (HKUSU) chairman Charles Kwok, union council chair Kinson Cheung and Chris Todorovski, who was a student residential hall representative to the council. All three were denied bail and remain in custody.

HKU student union HKUSU
HKU student union. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The four are among 32 student leaders who attended a HKUSU council meeting that passed a resolution to “express deep sadness” at the death of Leung Kin-fai. The 50-year-old had stabbed and injured a policeman, before knifing himself to death on July 1. Leung’s act – condemned as “lone wolf terrorism” by the authorities – was described as a “sacrifice” in the student motion.

The motion drew severe criticism from the government and the university administration, who slammed the union council for “whitewashing violence.” The student body apologised and withdrew the resolution two days later, while the student union’s executive committee and some council members stepped down from their roles.

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Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.