Bailed Alex Chow focusing on prison reform - RTHK
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Bailed Alex Chow focusing on prison reform

2017-11-08 HKT 12:29
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  • Bailed Alex Chow focusing on prison reform
Alex Chow talks to RTHK's Jimmy Choi
Student Occupy leader Alex Chow said on Wednesday that he was working with lawmakers to come up with ways to improve the environment of the territory's prisons, a day after he was released from jail pending an appeal over a seven-month term.

Chow said his time in prison had been invaluable, enabling him to learn about the rights issues faced by inmates.

One arrangement he challenged during his 80 or so days behind bars at Pik Uk Prison was a requirement for inmates to squat during a headcount after lunch. Chow said this rule was later abolished, though he wasn't sure whether his speaking out on the matter had prompted the change.

He also said something as simple as keeping warm can be an issue in the city's prisons.

"One of our friends, who got in the prison because of the New Territories [Legco protest] case, requested an extra blanket because the weather was getting cold. But he got rejected. The reason for that was because the staff were worried that he would commit suicide... to me, it's an absurd reason for declining such a reasonable request," Chow said.

"In the ordinance of the prison, it clearly states that the Correctional Services Department should provide enough clothing to the prisoners, but they refuse to do it."

He told RTHK's Jimmy Choi he thanked justice secretary for the prison term because it gave him a chance to experience the real prison life.

Chow also said the planned introduction of a national anthem law in Hong Kong shows the balance of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle is disappearing. He said the authorities should look at why some people don't respect the anthem.

The pro-democracy activist was jailed in August, along with fellow Occupy student leaders Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, after the government successfully won a court bid to have their non-custodial sentences increased for charges relating to a 2014 protest. The trio have been granted leave to appeal against the prison terms and all three are currently out on bail.