A former pro-democracy district councillor has been released on bail while he awaits an appeal against his conviction and sentence over a protest in 2020.

Raymond Li, 27, was convicted of “behaving in a noisy or disorderly manner in a public place” and sentenced to seven months in prison last month. Li’s application to be granted bail pending appeal was denied at the time.

Ex-Sha Tin district councillor Raymond Li. Photo: Raymond Li, via Facebook.

Represented by barrister Anthony Lai, Li appeared before High Court judge Judianna Barnes on Tuesday morning.

Barnes granted Li, who was dressed in a navy blue suit, HK$20,000 cash bail. His conditions included reporting to the police station three times a week, handing over his travel documents and staying at his provided address.

Under court reporting restrictions on bail proceedings, written and broadcast reports are limited to only include the result of a bail application, the name of the person applying for bail and their representation, and the offence concerned.

‘Inciting, insulting and provocative’

On May 24, 2020, Li – at the time the chair of the Sha Tin District Council – and other protesters gathered in Causeway Bay and Wan Chai to oppose the looming national anthem ordinance and security law.

Police fired tear gas and mobilised water cannon as protesters dug up bricks, set up road blocks and hurled objects at officers.

Delivering the judgement to Li at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on July 27, magistrate Winnie Lau said Li gathered with other people on Hennessy Road when police told the crowd to return to the pavement, according to The Witness. He sat down suddenly, shouting at a police officer and claiming he had been pushed to the ground by police.

Around half an hour later, Li again shouted at officers and called them “rubbish.” The former district councillor was arrested under the Canal Road flyover after refusing to move into a cordoned-off area, saying he was fulfilling his duties as a councillor by monitoring police operations.

He refused bail and was released by police, but was re-arrested around six months later at his residence.

Police outside the Sogo department store in Causeway bay during a protest on May 24, 2020. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Lau said Li’s actions were “inciting, insulting, and provocative” and a clear challenge to law enforcement, The Witness reported.

Li was elected in 2019 as a Sha Tin district councillor representing the Wo Che constituency and served until last October, when he was among other pro-democracy councillors disqualified after the government said the oaths they had taken were invalid.

Li’s starting sentence was eight months, but Lau gave him a one-month deduction considering his public service and the fact that it was his first 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.