32 HK ACTIVISTS DENIED BAIL AFTER HIGH COURT REVIEW OF THEIR CASES
Fifteen Hong Kong pro-democracy activists were granted bail on Thursday while they await charges related to a party primary last year but were quickly remanded to custody after a city official appealed the bail decision, Lisa Jane Harding reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
That means the 15 will join 32 other activists whose bail requests were rejected outright. The decision came after a four-day hearing with sessions that routinely lasted well into the evening.
Secretary of Justice Teresa Cheng launched an appeal against those granted bail immediately after the verdict was given. The case will now be heard at the High Court on March 12, when the Department of Justice will hear the prosecution's appeal.
The 47 activists were first charged last year for subversion of state power, one of four violations of a new security law imposed by Beijing. The other charges are secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces.
"The outcome is absurd but not surprising. They remain strong and will fight the case in the upper court," said Avery Ng, vice-chairperson of the League of Social Democrats.
Meanwhile, former Hong Kong lawmaker Nathan Law, who fled to Britain in June and is currently awaiting the outcome of his political asylum appeal, told dpa the case was outrageous.
"The government can use the NSL [national security law] as an excuse to lock any individuals [away] for months, even though they don't have any hard evidence," Law said.
"It has become a tool of suppression and 'One Country, Two Systems' does not exist anymore," he added, referring to the principle whereby Hong Kong was supposed to have its own set of rules for 50 years after its return to China in 1997.