HK lawyer urges bail denial for Joshua Wong ahead of trial
Published: Sep 24, 2020 04:04 PM

Joshua Wong Chi-fung  Photo: VCG

Hong Kong riot leader Joshua Wong Chi-fung, who is out on bail, was detained temporarily on Thursday for attending an illegal gathering on October 5, 2019, and for violating the anti-mask ordinance. Lawyers urged that bail be denied for Wong, as he may have a strong intention to flee Hong Kong as his multiple offenses could add to his sentence if convicted. 

Wong was detained when he reported his whereabouts to a local police station as a bailed suspect, Hong Kong media reported. He was allowed to leave after videotaping a confession with a lawyer present. 

In a statement sent to the Global Times, Hong Kong police said that two men, aged 23 and 74, were detained on Thursday for attending an unauthorized gathering in Causeway Bay. The 23-year-old also violated the anti-mask law, which was enacted in 2019, during the gathering. 

The 74-year-old was reportedly Koo Sze-yiu, who was active in street protests.

The case will be brought to the Eastern Magistrates' Courts on September 30.  

Wong was arrested twice in 2019 on charges that included organizing and participating in unauthorized assemblies and violently besieging police headquarters. He was quickly released both times, sparking concern that the politicization of Hong Kong's judicial system meant that it was too lax on secessionists. 

The rule of law cannot be fully implemented when bail is granted to suspects involved in multiple cases and with bad records, which is actually indulging illegal protests and even violence, analysts said. 

Even though he was out on bail, Wong still paid visits to the island of Taiwan and Germany, and maintained a high profile on social media. 

Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, a solicitor at the Supreme Court of Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Thursday that Wong Chi-fung was a typical example of someone deliberately violating the law repeatedly, and he was detained and charged for similar reasons last year. 

It's likely that suspects like him who have been charged with several offenses would serve a long prison term if convicted, thus increasing the risk that he would decide to flee Hong Kong, Wong Ying-ho said. 

"I highly recommend that the authorities deny bail and ban him from traveling at next week's court hearing, given that some of his accomplices have tried to flee to Western countries or Taiwan island in the past two months," Wong Ying-ho said.

After being released on Thursday afternoon, Wong Chi-fung said the police detention was an unnecessary move and aimed to deter future protests.

 "Wong Chi-fung was taking himself too seriously in relating his detention with future protests, as the police have investigated his case for rather a long time," Wong Ying-ho said. 

Wong Chi-fung had connections with foreign forces and if he incited more unrest, or even local terrorism, he would be punished under the national security law for Hong Kong, Wong Ying-ho said.

The rejection of bail and a travel ban would make him "a turtle in a jar" in police detention for future offenses, analysts said.  

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