Cheng Tsz-ho, one of 12 Hongkongers who was captured by the mainland Chinese coastguard while attempting to flee from the city to Taiwan, has been granted bail by the High Court.

Cheng, who was represented by barrister Margaret Ng, appeared in front of High Court Judge Derek Pang. He was granted bail after applying to appeal against his sentence.

Cheng Tsz-ho (right) walking out of the High Court after being granted bail on December 21, 2022. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Cheng was granted a cash bail of HK$20,000 and was barred from leaving Hong Kong. He was also ordered to hand over all travel documents, live at his declared address, and report to the police three times a week.

Under court reporting restrictions on bail proceedings, reports are limited to only include the result of a bail application, the name of the person applying for bail and their representation, and the offence concerned.

After Pang delivered his ruling, he told Cheng “please do not wander around,” or else he might be remanded again.

High Court. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The 20-year-old was sentenced to 10 months in prison in July after he pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice after participating in the plan to abscond to Taiwan on a speedboat in August 2020 while facing charges linked to the 2019 anti-extradition bill protests.

Cheng’s total jail term came to 31 months after he was handed a 28-month sentence, also in July, for possession of items with the intent to destroy or damage property. Three months of the sentence for perverting the course of justice were to be served consecutively.

However, after Cheng received his sentence for the second charge, District Court Judge Douglas Yau was informed that Cheng had already completed the 10-month jail term for perverting course of justice while awaiting sentencing for that charge.

High Court Judge Derek Pang. Photo: Judiciary.

That meant he could not serve any of the new sentence concurrently, and would effectively have to spend an extra six months in jail.

Yau said that he was unable to amend the sentence at that stage and recommended that Cheng, along with Liu Tsz-man, another defendant facing the same situation, file an appeal against the sentencing to amend the situation.

Liu was granted bail by the High Court last month.

After being caught by the Chinese coastguard in August 2020, Cheng served a seven-month jail term in mainland China before returning to Hong Kong in March last year. He has been detained since then.

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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.