Three former leaders of a now-defunct pro-democracy student group charged under the Beijing-imposed national security law will spend another month in custody, after their case was adjourned on Thursday to allow more time for the defence to go through documents presented by the prosecution.

Student Politicism’s former convenor Wong Yat-chin, former secretary-general Chan Chi-sum, and former spokespersons Alice Wong and Jessica Chu appeared at the District Court in front of hand-picked national security judge Kwok Wai-kin.

Yuen Long July 21, 2021 Wong Yat-chin
Student Politicism convenor Wong Yat-chin distributes copies of a publication titled “People who stay behind” at the Yuen Long public transport interchange on July 21, 2021. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The group was accused of conspiring to incite subversion under the national security law, which also outlawed secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts, which were broadly defined to include disruption to transport and other infrastructure.

All four were arrested and charged in September last year. Jessica Chu was the only defendant granted bail a month later, with the remaining three remanded in custody for close to four months.

The prosecutor told Kwok that the defence barristers needed more time to read through documents provided by the prosecution, which were handed over last Friday.

The case was adjourned to February 17, after Kwok denied Chu’s application to change her surety but extended her bail.

Student Politicism announced its disbandment in last September last year, days after the four were charged and detained.

PolyU siege case adjourned

Five people charged with conspiring to take part in a riot during the 12-day police siege of the Polytechnic University (PolyU) in 2019 also saw their case adjourned after the prosecution handed them more than 5,000 pages of documents.

tear gas poly-u umbrellas
Protester with umbrellas enshrouded with tear gas near Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Photo: Jimmy Lam/United Social Press

Lam Ming-yiu, Keung Cho-yuk, Keung Siu-hei, Chen Yunyi and Chan Cheuk-chiu also appeared in front on Kwok on Thursday. All five were granted bail last April following their arrest and prosecution in March.

Keung Cho-yuk’s representative told Kwok that more time was required by all defendants to examine the paperwork served by the prosecution, which included WhatsApp messages and CCTV videos and screenshots.

The barrister also said that they would like to obtain audio recordings transcribed by the prosecution to ensure that the transcripts were accurate.

The five will appear in court again on March 29, more than a year after they were charged.

In November 2019, violent clashes between protesters and police erupted at PolyU as student protesters called for a city-wide strike and class boycott during pro-democracy demonstrations. The confrontation lasted for 12 days as police tried to enter the campus. More than 1,300 people have been arrested in connection with the siege.

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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.