Chow Hang-tung, the former leader of the group behind Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen vigil, has been denied access to further case details in the national security trial against her and two other ex-standing committee members of the group, which continued on Monday.

Chow, along with Tang Ngok-kwan and Tsui Hon-kwong appeared in front of Principal Magistrate Peter Law, one of the city’s handpicked national security judges, at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts.

Chow Hang-tung. File photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The trio belonged to the defunct Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, and stand accused of failing to comply with a notice from the national security police requesting information.

Two other defendants in the case, Simon Leung and Chan To-wai, pleaded guilty and were sentenced to three months in prison.

According to the implementation rules of the Beijing-imposed national security law, the police chief, upon the secretary for security’s approval, can issue a notice requesting information such as financial records from foreign or Taiwan political organisations, or their agents.

The Alliance, which disbanded in September last year following a members’ vote, was accused by the prosecution as acting as an agent for an unnamed organisation known only as “Organisation 4.”

Details of the case, such as the identities of people or organisations said to be related to the Alliance, have been concealed under a Public Interest Immunity (PII) order. The prosecution, led by Ivan Cheung on Monday, said that the disclosure of such information would harm public interest.

Chow made her latest application for more information during the trial last month, and said that the redaction of key information prohibited her from having a fair trial.

West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts. File photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Law ruled on Monday that it was “not necessary” for more details to be released, and that he was “satisfied that there is a fair trial.”

Before the trial began, the prosecution was ordered to disclose information such as a police investigation report to the defence, with some details redacted. Another of Chow’s requests for more particulars was denied in June.

Further cross-examination

Following Law’s ruling, Chow continued her cross-examination of Hung Ngan, an acting superintendent of the national security police. Hung was given the option not to answer questions if doing so might risk revealing protected information.

The police officer declined to answer 10 questions on Monday, including on whether the Alliance had transferred money they received from an unnamed “Person 1” to an unnamed “Organisation 2.”

Principal Magistrate Peter Law. Photo: Judiciary.

The trial and the cross-examination of Hung will resume next Monday.

The Alliance, before its disbandment last year, organised the city’s annual vigils commemorating victims of the Tiananmen crackdown. It is estimated that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people died when the People’s Liberation Army was deployed on June 4, 1989, to crack down on peaceful student-led demonstrations.

Chow has been remanded in custody since September last year, and has since been sentenced to prison over two banned vigils. She is also facing another national security charge along with the group and two other ex-leaders, Lee Cheuk-yan and Albert Ho.

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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.