Hong Kong pro-democracy singer Tommy Yuen will face sentencing on August 11 after pleading guilty on Tuesday to sedition and money-laundering.

Yuen, who has been remanded in custody for over 16 months since last February, appeared before Judge Ernest Lin at the District Court. The maximum sentence for sedition on first offence is two years’ imprisonment.

Tommy Yuen
Pro-democracy singer Tommy Yuen. File photo: Tommy Yuen, via Facebook.

Prosecutors said Yuen made seditious statements on Facebook and Instagram including posts about the death of marine police officer Lam Yuen-yee in an anti-smuggling operation in September 2021, the Witness reported.

Yuen also made posts about Victor So, one of the city’s handpicked national security magistrates who at one point took leave due to heart disease. The singer said So’s illness was karma, and incited others to celebrate it according to the prosecution, Sing Tao reported.

The 43-year-old also admitted money-laundering. Prosecutors said he launched crowd-funding campaigns for a girl “A,” a character fabricated by Yuen, InMedia reported.

The singer claimed the proceeds would be used to support “A,” whom he said had been charged with rioting. Yuen then deposited the money into his brother-in-law’s account.

At the time of the offence, the account totalled around HK$2 million and around HK$1.65 million of this was later transferred to the singer’s account, the prosecution said.

District Court
District Court. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Prosecutors also applied to confiscate the balance in the accounts, amounting to around HK$370,000.

The colonial-era sedition law, which falls under the Crimes Ordinance, is different from the Beijing-imposed national security law. It outlaws incitement to violence, to disaffection and to other offences against the administration.

However, defendants charged under the colonial-era law must meet the same strict criteria for bail as those prosecuted under the security law, and sedition cases are handled by hand-picked national security judges.

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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.