The trial against four fugitive Hong Kong protesters who allegedly hid out in safehouses for almost two years before being arrested last July has been adjourned to February 1, when the court will decide whether to transfer the case to the District Court. They could face a maximum sentence of seven years if their case is transferred to the higher court.

The four, who had failed to attend court dates linked to 2019 protest-related charges, stand accused of perverting the course of justice. Among them is Tsang Chi-kin, who was shot during a 2019 protest.

Tsang Chi-kin. File photo.

Tsang, now 21, Ansen Wong Hoi-ming, and Alex Wong Chun-yin were brought in front of Acting Principal Magistrate Veronica Heung at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Wednesday.

Their co-defendant Fung Ching-wah did not appear because he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Tsang had long hair and appeared less skinny than at his first court appearance after his arrest in July.

The four have been charged with “doing an act or a series of acts tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice.”

The prosecution told the court that they would apply to combine the case against the four protesters with another perverting course of justice case against 34-year-old warehouse worker Yip Ho, who is suspected of helping hide the four, providing them with food and transferring them between hideouts.

West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The court also heard that the prosecution would apply for the case to be transferred to the District Court. The magistrate granted an adjournment to February 1.

Tsang and his co-defendants could face a maximum sentence of seven years if convicted.

Tsang, Ansen Wong and Alex Wong did not apply for bail and will remain remanded in custody until their next appearance in court.

Fung is scheduled to appear in court next Monday.

‘Gone into exile’

An overseas activist group announced in December 2020 that Tsang had “gone into exile” after missing a court hearing over rioting and assaulting police charges.

Li Kwai-wah meets the press on July 14, 2022 over the arrest of Tsang Chi-kin and three other fugitive protesters. Photo: Peter Lee/HKFP.

He was arrested last July with his three co-defendants. The police said they had intended to flee the city after moving between safehouses for nearly two years.

Senior Superintendent Li Kwai-wah of the police’s national security unit told reporters that the four fugitives had been assisted by a group of 10, but most members of that group had already left the city.

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Peter Lee

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.