The case against four fugitive Hong Kong protesters who allegedly hid for two years and a man who allegedly helped them hide has been moved to the city’s District Court, where they could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Fung Ching-wah, Tsang Chi-kin, Ansen Wong, Alex Wong, and Yip Ho appeared at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts in front of Acting Principal Magistrate Veronica Heung on Wednesday.

Tsang Chi-kin
Tsang Chi-kin.

The five stand accused of “doing an act or a series of acts tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice.”

The prosecution’s request to transfer the case to the city’s District Court, where the maximum penalty for perverting the course of justice is seven years in prison, was granted by the magistrate.

Veronica Heung.
Veronica Heung. Photo: Judiciary.

The group was said to have intended to “frustrate and hinder the jurisdiction of the court to adjudicate and conclude the criminal proceedings” against Fung, Tsang and the two Wongs, who had failed to attend court dates linked to 2019 protest-related charges.

The four were arrested last July after hiding in safehouses for close to two years. Yip was accused of helping hide the four, providing them with food and transferring them between hideouts.

The four were skinny, with long and unkempt hair and in a “poor mental condition” when arrested, police said.

West Kowloon Law Courts Building
West Kowloon Law Courts Building. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Fung, representing himself in court, and Tsang, who was shot during a 2019 extradition bill protest, wore their hair long when appearing in court on Wednesday.

None of the defendants applied for bail. All five have been remanded in custody for over six months since their arrests in July last year.

The group will next appear in court on February 21.

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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.