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Marathon national security bail hearing resumes

2021-03-02 HKT 11:22
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  • Marathon national security bail hearing resumes
  • People queuing up to get a seat for Tuesday's hearing at West Kowloon Magistracy. Photo: RTHK
    People queuing up to get a seat for Tuesday's hearing at West Kowloon Magistracy. Photo: RTHK
A marathon national security law hearing resumed at West Kowloon Court on Tuesday lunchtime, with 47 pro-democracy politicians and activists seeking bail after being charged with subversion.

Several of the defendants were absent, however, with Chui Chi-kin, Clarisse Yeung, Roy Tam, Leung Kwok-hung and Mike Lam all in hospital after Monday's prolonged session, while Benny Tai had to attend another court hearing.

Lam returned to court later in the day. After getting little rest, some of the defendants were seen nodding off during the proceedings.

Defence lawyers were attempting to fight off a prosecution bid for the group to be denied bail for at least three months as police continue to investigate, arguing that their clients should never have been charged if the case against them wasn't ready.

By around 4.30pm, the court had only dealt with 26 of the 47 defendants, with Chief Magistrate Victor So to announce his decision on each person at the end of the hearing.

Sweden's deputy consul general in Hong Kong, Joakim Ladeborn, had been one of those queuing for a seat in the court earlier in the day.

"We are following these cases closely. We are concerned about the implementation of the national security law... I was surprised there were so many people who lined up. It just shows the interest, I guess. And that people are concerned," he said.

Former Legislative Council member Emily Lau said she was angry that the group had been brought before the court even though the prosecution didn't appear to be prepared for the case.

"I think the prosecution even said, 'oh we haven’t finished. We just have allowed a few of you to speak. Never mind, we’ll lock you up, the rest come back in three months’ time to finish, to continue'. That’s ridiculous, how can you do that? I mean, the whole world is watching. They can see how ridiculous the system has become. And people are very, very upset," she said.

The 47 pro-democracy figures are accused of plotting to overthrow the SAR government, with the Legco primary polls they held last year part of the alleged conspiracy.

On Monday, hundreds of supporters gathered outside the court, with police eventually warning that some of the crowd could themselves be arrested under the national security law for chanting various protest slogans.
Last updated: 2021-03-02 HKT 16:43