Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court denied the bail request of a pro-democracy group’s vice-chairwoman on Friday, after her arrest early last week.
Chow Hang Tung, the vice-chairwoman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (Alliance), had been instrumental in the organization of Hong Kong’s annual Tiananmen Square vigil, commemorating the massacre of a crowd of pro-democracy student demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. The most recent vigils, held in defiance of a 2020 ban, have led to the arrest of a number of prominent pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong.
Chow and four other members of Alliance were arrested on September 8, after they refused to provide information about the group’s membership, finances and activities to police. They had received letters from the Hong Kong police’s national security unit on August 25, demanding information under Schedule 5 of the national security legislation, and accusing Alliance of acting on behalf of foreign entities.
In an open letter to the police, Alliance refuted these allegations. The group claimed that the police had “arbitrarily accused a civil society organization of being a ‘foreign agent’” as a means of demanding large amounts of information and intimidating the group. It described this as an “abusive and unreasonable practice and a violation of the principle of natural justice,” and as lacking any legal authority. As a result of their refusal to comply, Chow and her colleagues were arrested.
In the court on Friday, Judge Peter Law denied Chow’s bail request, stating that she had violated the law by not submitting information requested by the authorities.
Chow has also been charged with inciting subversion under the national security law, together with Alliance leaders Albert Ho and Lee Cheuk-yan. The latter two were already in custody over their involvement in the anti-government protests of 2019.
The prosecution has applied to adjourn the case to allow for more time for a police investigation.