A Hong Kong court has denied bail to a preacher facing two sedition charges on grounds that there was insufficient reason to believe he would not consider endangering national security.

High Court. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Appearing at High Court on Monday, Garry Pang was ordered to remain in detention until his trial begins on September 1, The Witness reported.

The 59-year-old preacher, who has been remanded in custody for three months, was among six people arrested by national security police in April on suspicion of causing nuisance during hearings at various courts. A police statement said their behaviour “seriously affect[ed] the solemnity of the judiciary and court operations.”

Pang and another woman, Chiu Mei-ying, pair were accused of “uttering seditious words” at a January 4 court hearing West Kowloon Law Courts Building. During the trial, Chow Hang-tung, vice-chair of the now-defunct protest group the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, was sentenced over a banned Tiananmen crackdown vigil last year.

Chow Hang-tung. Photo: Ocean Tham/HKFP.

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.

The preacher faced an additional charge of performing “an act or acts of seditious intention” linked to a YouTube channel he ran. Pang regularly posted videos about court cases related to the 2019 protests.

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.

West Kowloon Law Courts Building. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Judge Johnny Chan said there was insufficient reason to believe Pang would not continue to endanger national security.

Third High Court bail application denied

Monday’s application was the third time that Pang’s request for bail had been denied by the High Court.

The preacher, who is representing himself in court, previously applied for bail on May 6 and 16, according to The Witness.

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.

Hong Kong police emblem. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Both pleaded not guilty to the charges in May.

The sedition law outlaws treason, incitement to mutiny and disaffection, and other offences against the administration. While it carries a shorter jail term than violations of the national security law – up to two years compared to life in prison – it is broader.

The top court in Hong Kong has ruled that sedition is tantamount to a national security offence.

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Hillary Leung

Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.