Liu Tsz-man, one of 12 Hongkongers who attempted to flee to Taiwan via a speedboat but was captured by mainland Chinese authorities two years ago, has been granted bail pending an appeal against his sentence in a protest-related case.

Save 12 Hong Kong Twelve
This photo taken in November 2020 shows memo notes on a message board in Chinese University of Hong Kong, calling for the release of the 12 Hong Kong fugitives. File photo: Studio Incendo.

The 19-year-old appeared at the High Court in front of Court of Appeal Judge Derek Pang on Wednesday morning. The judge granted Liu HK$20,000 cash bail, under the terms that Liu had to hand over all travel documents and report to a police station three times a week.

Liu’s first bail application was rejected in September.

‘Flaws in this sentencing’

Liu was sentenced to 10 months in jail in July for perverting the course of justice over his escape attempt, and 27 months for “possessing anything with intent to destroy or damage property,” after half-made petrol bombs and related raw materials were found in a Wan Chai unit related to him.

When District Judge Douglas Yau handed down the sentencing, he set Liu’s overall jail term at 31 months, with four months to be served consecutively.

The next working day, however, the Correctional Services Department informed the court that Liu had already spent 10 months in custody and thus could not serve the two sentences concurrently.

High Court
High Court. File photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Yau said he would have reduced Liu’s jail term in the petrol bomb case from 27 to 21 months, had he known of the situation earlier. But he said he was unable to alter Liu’s sentencing at that stage, and recommended Liu launch an “appeal to mend the flaws in this sentencing.”

Liu was among 12 Hongkongers – some facing charges over the 2019 protests – who tried to escape to Taiwan on a speedboat in August 2020. They were captured by Chinese coastguards and 10 were jailed in mainland for crossing the border illegally.

Liu and another fugitive, both minors at the time, were not charged and were sent back to Hong Kong in December 2020.

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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.