Wednesday’s list of Signs the CCP is Turning Your City Into a Police State…
Yesterday morning, Baptist University student union leader Keith Fong was arrested in connection with various inane offenses relating to laser pointers. Over 20 cops turned up at his home. (How big is his apartment?)
More inane offenses yesterday afternoon, when Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam were sentenced for ‘unauthorized assembly’ and incitement. The magistrate handed out prison sentences of seven to 13 months, along with some tough law-and-order/deterrence language.
Looks like a determined balancing act by a magistrate who knows the charges are borderline absurd, but also knows her career is at stake if she doesn’t put people behind bars. The three were bit-players in the protest, but to the CCP – obsessed with getting certain individuals in prison – the sentences probably seem too light.
This attracts considerable overseas attention. Behold the mass ranks of Agnes’s Japanese fans in anger.
And yesterday evening, Jimmy Lai and two of his managers were detained on charges of ‘fraud’. A flimsy thing about breaking lease conditions at Next Media’s Tseung Kwan O industrial estate premises, plus the recurrent theme of Beijing’s obsession with jailing prominent figures.
Also yesterday evening, pan-dem lawmaker Ted Hui’s parents, wife and children left Hong Kong, after Hui himself made a trip to Denmark. Looks like a one-way ticket.
A designated NatSec judge is to decide whether the sedition trial of People Power’s Tam Tak-chi should be heard by a NatSec judge, even though the pro-democracy activist has not been charged under the new legislation. (See Prof Simon Young’s comments below*** on why he doesn’t have to be.) The move was requested by the government, and the non-NatSec judge didn’t want to make the decision himself. The new parallel NatSec-authorized courts will of course obey CCP orders, because why else would they have been created?
More details about how Better-Red-Than-Expert managers at i-Cable tried to interfere with Mainland-related news stories.
Where the NatSec Regime is concerned, vindictiveness can be so petty it’s almost microscopic: the Correctional Services Dept is thinking of forcing female prisoners to have their hair cut when entering prison. This follows a court ruling that cutting only men’s hair broke anti-discrimination laws – and obviously officials can’t let Long Hair, who brought the case, win. (Actually an important point of principle for the CCP: an enemy of the regime must not be allowed to dictate government policy.)
***Interesting summary of Prof Simon Young’s discussion on the NatSec Law at the US Asia Law Institute forum.
From AFP, a timechart of repression in Hong Kong since the NatSec Law came into force (the ink’s not yet dry, but the graphic already needs updating).
And the cool, calm, unflappable, measured and moderate Hong Kong government takes a break from wetting itself about haircuts for prisoners and issues an epic 1,614-word press release whining about an Interfering-in-Internal-Affairs statement by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
“The three were bit-players in the protest”
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Wow. Just as I wrote that a 25- to 30-member drift of pigs has zipped by my office window. To steal a phrase off the late David Coleman, quite remarkable.
Making the Wong/Chow/Lam sentences consecutive is another meanly vindictive turn of the screw.
Jimmy Lai and others were held overnight on one count of fraud. Today the prosecutor asked that bail be refused. If bail is not granted, they will remain in jail until April, at least.
The alleged violation involves using Next Digital’s TKO Industrial Estate building address for a separately-incorporated, in-house company secretarial activity. It is being dressed up as commercial fraud with national security implications. Maximum penalty is 14 years’ imprisonment.
Fifty years no change.
the court judgment had been a blow to staff morale, as prison guards have to search every inmate at least three times a day out of security concerns
Apart from the procedure hinting at a let’s-piss-everybody-off technique, human nature suggests that warders will become complacent and less than thorough searching every prisoner that often.
Jimmy Lai denied bail.
Two Apple Daily executives granted bail, travel documents confiscated.
Jimmy Lai denied bail and remanded in custody until April 2021. Has anyone in Hong Kong ever been denied bail for a fraud case until today?
“Jimmy Lai denied bail and remanded in custody until April 2021. Has anyone in Hong Kong ever been denied bail for a fraud case until today?”
And Shanghai Boy gets to walk free on bail despite jumping bail and fleeing to Thailand in the first place!
I really must try to keep up. If the charges are “borderline absurd”, then why did Joshua and the others plead guilty ?
They have a Legal Team, and could have made the prosecution try to prove the charges.
They’ve probably crowdfunded the costs, so the expense of contesting the case shouldn’t have been a worry.
It’s a risk/reward calculation. By pleading guilty that automatically get a discount on the sentence (though that may have been partially offset by the judge making the sentences consecutive rather than concurrent). The risk is that by going to trial with a pro-BJ judge the chance of being acquitted, despite overwhelming evidence, would be low and which would result in a “deterrent” sentence. From the remarks made by the judge (and the concurrent imposition), I think they made the right decision.
@Free the Meerkats !: “If the charges are “borderline absurd”, then why did Joshua and the others plead guilty ?”
Because, my good fellow, you are wandering around a 20- to 30-person echo chamber, most members of which are bereft of a nanogram of critical thought.
@where’s my jet plane
It’s amazing how the shouty-louties advocating the “Revolution of our Times” flip quickly to limp when the threat of a decade or three in the slammer rears its ugly little head.
You have an office? Crikey!
You mean someone employs you? I can’t imagine in what capacity.
Reactioanry #4: Yes, they were not leaders of the protests. Either you Rip van Winkled through 2019 or you haven’t read any of several useful subsequent accounts of the protests, or both.
I realize that it’s difficult for someone of a fascist mindset to grasp the idea of a movement without a strong, masculine, rock-jawed leader.
Aww we were doing so well until you guys fed the cunt/troll.
They just couldn’t cunt/troll themselves…
…I’ll get my coat.