Former pro-democracy lawmaker Fernando Cheung has left Hong Kong for Canada, months after serving three weeks in prison for contempt in connection with a protest he staged with fellow democrats in the legislature in May 2020.

The news of his departure was disclosed by former deputy chief executive officer of Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute Chung Kim-wah in a Facebook post published on Monday. Chung also recently left the city.

Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung. Photo: HKFP/Catherine Lai.

Chung said that he had received a message from a friend who had arrived in Toronto, Canada, and wished the friend well. While Chung did not name the friend, Cheung commented beneath the post.

“Thank you! While [we] haven’t settled down yet, at least [we’re] safe. My freedom is no longer dependant on those in power,” Cheung’s comment read.

“We have entered another environment, and will continue to fight for [our] original intention,” wrote Cheung. “However, now [I] need more time to take care of my daughter and family. Being a carer is not easy.”

Cheung ‘left begrudgingly’

Cheung’s departure was later confirmed by former lawmaker Shiu Ka-chun in a Facebook post on Wednesday, who said that he had kept Cheung’s departure a secret until he had safely landed in Toronto.

“Like many people who have left Hong Kong, [Cheung] left begrudgingly,” wrote Shiu.

“I told him when [he] boarded his plane: ‘thank you for fighting for Hong Kong until the very last day. When you have landed, live in the moment, take care of your health. Fer, with numerous vivid scenes (in the classroom, on the streets, in the legislature, in courts, and in prison), I bid farewell to you’.”

“Fernando and his family have reached Toronto safely and have reunited with his family, please rest assured,” Shiu’s post read.

Shiu Ka-chun. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Cheung, a social worker and retired university lecturer, became a lawmaker in 2004 through the social welfare sector functional constituency. He joined the legislature again in 2012. In 2020, he was among the democrats who resigned from the legislature en masse following the disqualification of four of their colleagues.

During his terms as a legislator, Cheung advocated for underprivileged groups, including ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, refugees and those living in poverty.

In February, Cheung was sentenced to three weeks in prison after he admitted to breaching the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance by chanting slogans for close to 44 minutes during a House Committee meeting in May 2020.

HKFP has reached out to Cheung for comment.

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Candice Chau

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.