A former Hong Kong opposition lawmaker facing subversion charges in the largest national security law crackdown to date was denied bail for a second time at the High Court on Monday.
“Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, who has been detained since February 28, will now serve the next two months behind bars until his case is heard again in a lower court.
Court of First Instance judge Esther Toh Lye-ping, one of those designated by city leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to oversee security law proceedings, said she would explain her decision in a written judgment in due course.
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Leung is among 47 opposition politicians and activists charged over their roles in what prosecutors have called a subversive plot to paralyse the government and topple the city’s leader by winning a controlling majority in the Legislative Council through an unofficial primary election last July.
He was first taken to court on March 1, and the next hearing in the case is slated for May 31 at West Kowloon Court.
Chief Magistrate Victor So Wai-tak, also designated by Lam to hear security law cases, initially granted bail to 15 defendants following four days of marathon hearings. However, Toh trimmed that number to 11 upon review at prosecutors’ request.
Among those granted bail were former Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan, Wan Chai District Council chairwoman Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying and barrister Lawrence Lau Wai-chung.
Former Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan Siu-kin and district councillor Andy Chui Chi-kin, who were among the defendants remanded in custody by So, have previously failed in their bids for release before Toh.
Those denied bail for a second time at the High Court can still apply for temporary release during the criminal proceedings. However, applications will only be accepted if the court is satisfied there is a change of circumstances that justifies their release.
District councillors Ben Chung Kam-lun and Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit, along with former lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching, all of whom were also denied bail in the lower court, will seek to overturn So’s decision on Wednesday, April 12 and April 14, respectively.