The transfer of a sedition case against a combat coach and his assistant to a higher court has been adjourned after the coach was identified as a close contact of a person infected with Covid-19.

West Kowloon Law Courts
West Kowloon Law Courts Building. File photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Denis Wong, 59, did not appear in front of Principal Magistrate Peter Law at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Wednesday afternoon. His lawyer said he had to isolate until Sunday.

Wong’s co-defendant, 62-year-old Iry Cheung was in attendance, but Law said the transferral of the case to District Court could not proceed without both defendants being present.

The magistrate adjourned the hearing to next Monday.

Wong stands accused of committing acts with seditious intention and possessing offensive weapons with intent, as well as possessing arms without a licence.

Cheung faces one count of possession of offensive weapons with intent and one count of possession of arms without a licence.

Cheung, who used a headset provided by the court to assist her hearing, waved towards people sitting in the public gallery as she left the court room.

‘Building an army’

The pair were arrested on March 21 by police officers from the National Security Department. They have been remanded in custody since.

Weapons confiscated by the police during the searches in Tsim Sha Tsui, Sha Tin, and Ma On Shan. Photo: Hong Kong Police, via video screenshot.

Senior Superintendent Steve Li of the National Security Department told reporters after the arrest that multiple alleged seditious posts were found on the Facebook page of a training centre the defendants used.

Weapons including crossbows, swords, bows and arrows, and air guns were found at locations in Tsim Sha Tsui, Sha Tin, and Ma On Shan during the investigation, according to Li.

Li said they had a clear target of “building an army” and “supporting Hong Kong independence.”

In June, the national security police arrested three men aged between 39 to 50 on suspicion of committing acts with seditious intention. The police said they were students of the training centre. They have since been released on police bail.

Sedition is outlawed by Hong Kong’s Crime Ordinance. The legislation was last amended in the 1970s when the city was still under British colonial rule.

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Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.