A former leader of the group that organised Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen candlelight vigils has been granted bail while facing a national security charge.

Albert Ho, a former lawmaker and the ex-vice-chair of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, stands accused of inciting subversion along with the group and two of its former leaders.

Albert Ho. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Ho, wearing a silver jacket and a dress shirt on Monday, appeared at the High Court to hear Judge Johnny Chan’s decision on his second bail application from last week.

Ho’s bail conditions included a cash bail of HK$700,000, and a surety from his daughter and sister-in-law. He must also report to the police three times per week, hand over all travel documents, and cannot leave Hong Kong.

The 70-year-old former lawmaker has been banned from making any speech online or through media outlets that could be seen to violate the national security law. Ho is also prohibited from directly or indirectly contacting any foreign officials or their staff members over any matters.

The High Court judge said that while Ho’s health and his desire to seek private medical treatment were not grounds for granting bail, they were factors Ho should consider when deciding whether to commit any further acts that might violate the national security law.

High Court. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Charged under the national security law last September, Ho has been remanded in custody since May last year, when he was sentenced over a protest-related charge. He completed his jail term last month for offences – including those linked to the banned 2020 Tiananmen vigil – but remained in custody because of the national security charge.

Chan said that the time Ho had spent in jail “would serve as a constant reminder and warning to him” of what would happen if he were to reoffend.

Following the judge’s announcement of Ho’s bail, people in the public gallery cheered, with some pumping their fists in the air.

“Don’t prove me wrong and Mr. Cheung [the prosecutor] right,” Chan said to Ho before leaving the court.

Disbanded Alliance

The Alliance played a key role in Hong Kong’s efforts to commemorate the victims of the Tiananmen crackdown, which occurred on June 4, 1989. It is estimated that hundreds, perhaps thousands, died when the People’s Liberation Army cracked down on protesters in Beijing, ending months of student-led demonstrations in China.

The Alliance disbanded last September following months of pressure from the authorities and the arrest of the group’s leadership.

National security police also froze assets worth around HK$2.2 million following a raid at the Alliance’s premises last September.

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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.