A court has approved applications to loosen the bail conditions of four University of Hong Kong (HKU) students facing national security charges.

The four were accused of “advocating terrorism” after HKU’s student union passed a motion expressing sympathy and “gratitude” to a man who killed himself after stabbing a police officer on July 1, 2021. They apologised and withdrew the motion, though also face an alternative charge of “incitement to wound with intent.”

HKUSU chairperson Kinson Cheung. Photo: Peter Lee/HKFP.

District Judge Kwok Wai-kin allowed the four to reduce the amount of times they must report to police stations from three times a week to twice a week, while reducing their curfew requirements to just six hours daily from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m..

Among the four defendants, former chairperson of the Students’ Council Kinson Cheung, ex-HKUSU chairperson Charles Kwok, and former student residence representative on the Union Council Chris Todorovski, were granted bail last September after spending about a month in custody.

HKU Student Union Council member Anthony Yung. Photo: Peter Lee/HKFP.

Anthony Yung, a former member of the student union council, was the first to be granted bail last August.

The HKU Students’ Union Council passed a motion on July 7 last year to “mourn” and “thank” Leung Kin-fai, who stabbed a police officer before killing himself on the 24th anniversary of Hong Kong’s Handover.

The move drew immediate, widespread criticism from the pro-establishment camp, and condemnation by the Security Bureau.

HKU’s former student residence representative on the Union Council Chris Todorovski (left). Photo: Peter Lee/HKFP.

In the early morning of July 9, the student union withdrew the proposal and apologised for its actions. Its executive committee also resigned.

On July 16, national security police searched the student body’s premises on campus, as well as the offices of the union’s media outlets Undergrad and CampusTV. The four student leaders were arrested a month later on August 18.

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Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.