A man accused of conspiracy to commit terrorist activities under the Beijing-imposed national security law was denied bail at a Hong Kong court on Thursday.

Cheung Ho-Yeung, 23, appeared at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts in front of Chief Magistrate Victor So.

west kowloon court
Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Cheung is accused of conspiring with others “with a view to coercing” the Central and Hong Kong governments, or “intimidating the public in order to pursue political agenda, to organise, plan, commit, participate in or threaten to commit terrorist activities” between April 1, 2021 and July 5, 2021.

The defendant’s co-conspirators included Chan Hoi-leung, Kwok Man-hei, Ho Yu-wang, Alexander Au, Chan Cheuk-hin, Law Kai-wing, Su Wing-ching, and other people, the prosecution said.

The seven alleged co-conspirators who were named have been charged in a separate case, also under the sweeping security law. Their cases have been transferred to the High Court.

The 23-year-old is also facing an alternative charge of “conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life or property.”

Cheung was a student when he was arrested in October last year. The police said at the time that he was also suspected of money laundering and fraud.

‘Mastermind’ of conspiracy

Prosecutor Karen Ng objected to the defendant’s bail application on Thursday, and said that he was one of the “masterminds” of the conspiracy, and had an “important role.” She also applied to transfer Cheung’s case to the Court of First Instance, where the maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit terrorist activities is life imprisonment.

Victor SO Wai-tak 蘇惠德
Victor So. Photo: Judiciary.

Under bail reporting restrictions, written and broadcast reports of bail proceedings are limited to only include the result of an application, the name of the applicant and their representation, and the offence concerned.

Defendants charged under the security law have to face a more stringent bail assessment. Judges – who are handpicked by the authorities – have to consider not only the defendant’s risk of absconding or obstructing justice, but also whether there are sufficient grounds for believing they “will not continue to commit acts endangering national security.”

The chief magistrate adjourned the case to May 12. The court is scheduled to handle the prosecution’s application to transfer the case to the High Court.

The sweeping security legislation, enacted in June 2020, also criminalised subversion, secession, and collusion with foreign forces.

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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.