A Hong Kong court has refused bail to pro-democracy singer Tommy Yuen, who has been detained since February on charges of acting with seditious intent and fraud.

Tommy Yuen
Pro-democracy singer Tommy Yuen. File photo: Tommy Yuen, via Facebook.

Yuen, wearing a grey hoodie and with chin-length hair, appeared at District Court on Thursday.

Judge Stanley Chan sided with the prosecution in opposing the bail application, adding that there was insufficient reason to believe that Yuen would not “continue endangering national security.”

During his last appearance in court in September, the judge chastised him for taking a long time to sort out legal representation, resulting in delays. Yuen was represented by barrister Wong Hok-yan on Thursday.

The case was adjourned to January 3 to allow time for Wong to receive all the relevant documents from previous legal firms which Yuen had engaged.

District Court
District Court. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Yuen’s previous two applications for bail at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court, before the case was transferred to the higher-level District Court, were also rejected.

February arrest

Yuen was arrested in February this year on suspicion of acting with seditious intent and of money-laundering. Police said he made social media posts “cursing” judges, making fun of police and “vilifying” the government’s Covid-19 policies. Yuen also urged people to boycott anti-epidemic measures, police added.

On the alleged money-laundering offence, police said the singer called on people to financially support protesters who had been arrested for rioting during the 2019 demonstrations.

july 28 may james china extradition best of
A protest in July 2019. File photo: May James/HKFP.

Donations were deposited into a bank account and some of it was used for dining, entertainment and betting at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, according to police.

Yuen had “filled his own pocket” with public donations, police said.

Local media reported that a 20-year-old – who was also arrested in connection with the case – is the younger brother of Yuen’s ex-wife.

Yuen was a vocal supporter of the pro-democracy protests in 2019, which were triggered by a controversial extradition bill and later erupted into a wider movement against the Hong Kong and Chinese governments.

His Facebook page also shows photos of him with well-known pro-democracy figures such as Agnes Chow and Ventus Lau, as well as veteran protester Grandma Wong.

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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.