A Hong Kong woman charged under the sedition law over social media posts has been remanded in custody after being denied bail.

West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts
West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts. File photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Law Oi-wa, who was arrested on Tuesday afternoon, appeared at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday morning.

The 48-year-old homemaker stands accused of “doing an act or acts with seditious intention” linked to posts on Facebook and Twitter. She was said to have intended to “bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection” against the Hong Kong and Central governments,” incite violence and “counsel disobedience to law,” among other intentions, according to the charge sheet.

Local media outlets reported that the content included the popular 2019 protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times” and pro-independence chants, as well as an image of Hong Kong’s flag in black and white – known as the “black bauhinia” flag.

social media apps smartphone instagram twitter facebook
Social media apps on a smartphone. Photo: Tracy Le Blanc/Pexels.

Among the posts was also reportedly a reference to protest song Glory to Hong Kong as the city’s “national anthem.”

Officers seized electronic devices at her home that were suspected to have been used to post the messages after her arrest.

The judge, Victor So, rejected her application for bail and adjourned the case to April 27.

Sedition is not covered by the Beijing-imposed national security law, which targets secession, subversion, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts and mandates up to life imprisonment.

Hong Kong Police
The Hong Kong Police Force emblem outside the police headquarters in Wan Chai. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

It was last amended in the 1970s when Hong Kong was still a British colony and was unused for over half a century until March 2020, when it was revived in the aftermath of the 2019 extradition bill protests and unrest.

See also: Explainer: Hong Kong’s sedition law – a colonial relic revived after half a century

Those convicted under the sedition law face a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

The city’s top court ruled in 2021 that suspects who are not charged under the national security law, but whose cases involve national security, face a stricter threshold for being granted bail. In such cases, the courts are required to decide whether there are sufficient grounds to believe that the suspect would not continue to commit acts endangering national security.

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Hillary Leung

Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.