A mainland Chinese postgraduate student has been detained in Hong Kong under the city’s colonial-era sedition law after allegedly mourning the death of a man who killed himself after stabbing a policeman on the city’s Handover anniversary in 2021.

police stabbing sogo
People left flowers near the SOGO mall in Causeway Bay to pay tribute to Leung Kin-fai, who took his own life after stabbing a police officer on July 1, 2021. Photo: Studio Incendo.

Zeng Yuxuan, 23, was apprehended by Hong Kong’s national security police on Thursday and was brought to the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Friday afternoon to face one count of acting with seditious intent.

According to the charge sheet, the law student commemorated the death of Leung Kin-fai on January 1 outside the SOGO mall in Causeway Bay, where Leung stabbed police constable So King-cho before taking his own life on July 1, 2021.

The government condemned the stabbing as a “lone wolf local terrorist act,” while those who paid tribute to Leung were said to have romanticised or glorified a “despicable act of the attempted murder of a police officer” with an intent to incite hatred in society.

The officer, who sustained a serious back injury, was awarded the Silver Medal for Bravery last year, as the government praised him for his “act of selflessness, commitment of duty, professionalism and gallantry of an extremely high order.”

West Kowloon Law Courts Building.
West Kowloon Law Courts Building. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Zeng allegedly displayed a sketch of Leung together with some statements with an intention to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the Hong Kong government. Her actions also intended to incite others to violence or counsel disobedience to law or any lawful order, the charge sheet read.

Principal Magistrate Peter Law refused to grant Zeng bail and ordered her to be remanded into custody pending trial. The case was adjourned to July 28.

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. Those convicted under the sedition law – last amended in the 1970s when Hong Kong was still a British colony – face a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

Support HKFP  |  Policies & Ethics  |  Error/typo?  |  Contact Us  |  Newsletter  | Transparency & Annual Report | Apps

legal precedents hong kong
security law transformed hong kong
contact hkfp

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.