Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong will plead guilty in the city’s largest national security case, local media reported, after being detained for more than a year without a trial date under the China-drafted law.
Local media including HK01 reported that the ex-student leader and jailed student activist is one of 29 democracy activists who will plead guilty over subversion allegations related to a July 2020 primary. As part of the charges, Benny Tai, Jimmy Sham, a former law professor, and Claudia Mo, an ex-lawmaker, were all expected to agree.
The 18 other defendants, including former lawmaker “Long hair” Leung Kwok-hung, will plead not guilty, local media reported.
The news of the anticipated guilty pleas was announced a day after Justice Secretary Paul Lam revealed that the case would be tried before a panel consisting of three security law judges. This is in contrast to a jury. According to Ming Pao, most of the pleas intentions were made between June 1st and July 6.
After a landmark security case, a different court overturned reporting limits on Thursday, details from the court appearances were made public.
They are accused of organizing the vote which attracted more than 600,000. Voters were able to elect candidates for Legislative Council election. The authorities claim the event was an illegal attempt at paralyzing government.
Under the stricter threshold that Beijing placed on Beijing in June 2020, around 30 of the defendants were held indefinitely without bail. The law carries life sentences and can lead to imprisonment for as much as 40 years.
Hong Kong court have removed bail from two of the defendants who were indicted over the last year. Activist Owen Chow was rearrested on Jan. 13 for social media posts violating his release terms of “not making any speech that can be reasonably deemed as endangering national security,” local media including HK01 reported. Winnie Yu (ex-union representative) was sent back to jailThe same reason was given on March 8.
So far, only two of the defendants in this case have been able to fight security law charges. They were both convicted of security law charges and sentenced to up to 9 years imprisonment. This demonstrates the seriousness of the task for anyone who takes on the government. Last year pro-democracy activist Tony Chung, who plead guilty, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison — the lightest sentence handed down.
There have been 215 arrests by the national security police, and at least 114 were made by the government.
—Hayley Wong will be your guide
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