A Hong Kong court has granted bail to a former spokesperson for the now-disbanded group Student Politicism, but three of its ex-leaders were ordered to remain in custody pending trial under the Beijing-imposed national security law.
The High Court on Friday approved a bail application by Jessica Chu, 18, a Hong Kong Baptist University student who had been detained for almost a month after she was arrested on September 20 for conspiracy to incite subversion.
Former group convenor Wong Yat-chin, ex-secretary general Chan Chi-sum and another former spokesperson Alice Wong – facing the same charges – also applied for bail on Friday, but were refused by designated national security judge Alex Lee.
According to local media, Chu must abide by a list of conditions including a cash bail of HK$15,000 and a surety of HK$10,000 from her father. She must observe a curfew and report to police daily, while refraining from giving interviews, making social media posts or contacting foreign officials.
The four will appear again on November 3, when the case is expected to be transferred from the magistrates’ court to the District Court, where the maximum penalty is seven years behind bars. The High Court was only involved in considering the applications for bail, which is much harder to obtain under the security law than in criminal cases.
Founded in May last year, Student Politicism was one of the few pro-democracy organisations that continued to organise street booths after the sweeping security legislation came into force on June 30, 2020. Police often thwarted their efforts to set up booths, while its convenor Wong was arrested five times for offences such as distributing seditious publications and inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly.
The group announced last month it was shutting down after the four national security arrests and amid a wave of disbandments by other civil society groups. There was “a lack of foreseeable space” in the city to carry on its mission, it said.