Two frequent court-goers are facing sedition charges for allegedly “causing nuisance” during a hearing.
The defendants Garry Pang, 59, and Chiu Mei-ying, 67, appeared in front of Principal Magistrate Peter Law at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court on Friday morning. Both stand accused of “uttering seditious words,” while Pang was also charged with committing “acts with seditious intention.”
Pang runs a YouTube channel that has close to 10,000 subscribers and mainly publishes videos and livestreams about 2019 protest-related trials. The prosecution said Pang produced the videos with an intent to bring “hatred,” “contempt,” or “disaffection” against the judiciary and to raise “discontent or disaffection” among the city’s residents and to “counsel disobedience” of the law.
The pair were accused of “uttering seditious words” at a January 4 court hearing, when vice-chair of the now-defunct Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, Chow Hang-tung, was sentenced over a banned Tiananmen vigil last year.
During that hearing, the public gallery erupted in applause after Chow made a speech, with the magistrate ordering police officers to note the identities of those who clapped, saying that the court was “not a stage for performance.”
Pang chose to represent himself while Chiu was represented by her legal counsels.
Law approved the prosecution’s application to adjourn the case until May 19 for the police to further investigate the defendants’ electronic devices. Chiu was granted a cash bail of HK$20,000, on the condition that she reports to a police station three times a week and hands over all of her travel documents.
She will not be allowed to use any devices with social media applications or commit acts or speeches that can be seen as endangering national security.
Pang’s bail proceeding will continue on Monday. He will be placed in remand over the weekend.
6 arrested, 4 released on bail
The two were among six people who were arrested by national security police on Wednesday morning. According to the police, two women and four men aged 32 to 67 were apprehended. Sources told local media that Leo Tang, the former vice-president of the now-disbanded pro-democracy group the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, was among those arrested.
A police statement issued on Thursday night said the other four were released on bail and would have to report to the police in early May.
Chiu and Pang were charged under section 10 of the colonial-era Crimes Ordinance, which is a separate branch of law from the national security law implemented by Beijing in 2020. However, the top court in Hong Kong has ruled that sedition is tantamount to a national security offence.