A Hong Kong pro-democracy singer accused of inventing a fictional character to raise money online has been sentenced to two years and two months in prison for sedition and money-laundering.

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

Wearing a light blue long-sleeved t-shirt and a white mask, Tommy Yuen appeared before Judge Ernest Lin at the District Court on Thursday morning. He had spent 18 months in custody awaiting the conclusion of the case.

Lin was accused of launching crowd-funding campaigns to raise money for “A”, a woman he said had been charged with rioting. Prosecutors said he sold cookies online to raise HK$718,788 which he claimed would support the woman, who did not in fact exist.

He was also convicted of making seditious statements online, including about the death of a marine police officer while on duty in September 2021 and a national security magistrate who took leave due to an illness.

Yuen – a former member of Cantopop group E-kids – pleaded guilty in July.

In a document giving reasons for the sentence, Lin said Yuen and his wife – who has already left the city and was said to have collaborated with him in the offence – had come up with a plot as if they were “producing a TV drama” to “manipulate others’ sympathy.”

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

“Driven by personal gain, the defendant… exploited the sympathy of the citizens for his own benefit,” Lin wrote.

His culpability was “even more severe than ordinary fraud,” the judge added.

Yuen’s online posts, the magistrate said, were taunts and mockery aimed at inciting citizen’s “scorn” towards the Hong Kong government and the legal system.

Handing down the sentence, Lin noted that there was an overlap between the money-laundering and the sedition charge, and took into account the fact that he was a first-time offender. He delivered an initial sentence of 39 months and reduced it by one-third to 26 months, taking into account his guilty plea.

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

Help safeguard press freedom & keep HKFP free for all readers by supporting our team

contribute to hkfp methods
YouTube video

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit.

Success! You're on the list.

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.