Hong Kong Tiananmen Vigil Activist Pleads Guilty to Denying Request for National Security Data

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A former member of the group that organized the annual Tiananmen Vigils in Hong Kong has pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a National Security Police data investigation.

Chan To-wai, a former member of the standing committee of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of China’s Patriotic Democratic Movements, appeared before handpicked national security judge, Senior Magistrate Peter Law, on Tuesday at the West Kowloon Magistrate’s Court.

Chan To-wai (front) and Simon Leung (back) leave the West Kowloon Courthouse on May 10, 2022. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Chan pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a notice served under Beijing-imposed national security law, which required him and four other alliance members to provide requested information.

When reading the indictment, the clerk mistakenly said “DAB” in Chinese, the largest pro-Beijing political party in Hong Kong, instead of “the alliance”, and only corrected her mistake. when Law prompted her. Several people seated in the public gallery snickered upon hearing the clerk’s error.

Chan, who was 57 when he was prosecuted in September last year, was charged along with former Alliance vice president Chow Hang-tung, standing committee members Tang Ngok-kwan, Simon Leung and Tsui Hon-kwong.

Leung pleaded guilty to the charge last December and was sentenced to three months in prison. He was released in April this year, after serving prison terms for the banned Tiananmen candlelight vigil held in 2020.

Chow, Tang and Tsui, who also appeared before Law in court on Tuesday, pleaded not guilty to the charge last September.

Mitigation

Chan’s lawyer said during the mitigation that Chan was remanded for 45 days, which would amount to a 68-day sentence, given good behavior and remission.

The annual vigil at Victoria Park on June 4, 2020, to commemorate the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. Photo: May James/HKFP.

Chan was denied bail on September 10 last year, then released on bail on October 22.

His lawyer said he hoped the magistrate would impose a sentence that meant Chan would no longer need to serve his sentence in jail, as Chan had no criminal record for similar offences, and his previous conviction “n has nothing to do with the accusation”.

Law will hand down a sentence Wednesday morning.

Prior to its dissolution last September, the alliance was a key player in Hong Kong’s civil society, holding annual candlelight vigils on June 4 to call for democracy and commemorate the victims of Beijing’s bloody Tiananmen crackdown, where it is estimated that hundreds, if not thousands, died when the People’s Liberation Army cracked down on protesters in Beijing.

Some key members of the alliance, as well as the organization itself, face prosecution under national security laws for alleged incitement to subversion.

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