Hong Kong teen activist charged with secession under security law

A teenage former leader of a pro-independence group in Hong Kong who tried to seek shelter in the United States Consulate has been charged with secession, becoming the second person to be prosecuted for advocating independence under the territory’s sweeping China-imposed national security law.

Tony Chung, 19, appeared in court on Oct 29 charged with secession, money laundering, and conspiring to publish seditious content. He was arrested in a Hong Kong coffee shop close to the consulate two days before. Hong Kong court has refused to grant bail to a Tony Chung

The teenager appeared in the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court after police arrested and detained him – as well as two former members of Studentlocalism, Yanni Ho and William Chan – on Tuesday. Chung was apprehended near the US Consulate General, where he had hoped to seek political asylum, local media reported.

According to local media, Chung was accused of organising, planning, committing, or participating in acts with a view to commit secession or undermine national unification between July 1 and October 27. The teen activist was also accused of conspiring with others to publish seditious materials from November 30, 2018, to June 9 this year, under a law that was last updated in 1971, during British colonial rule.

The activist was ordered to remain in custody until his next court appearance on January 7, 2021. Two other activists from the same group – Yanni Ho and William Chan were allowed bail by the court