- Hong Kong’s largest national security trial of 47 democrats begins today (6 Feb 2023).
- Two trade unionists are among the 47 Hong Kong democrats charged with subversion under the Hong Kong National Security Law.
- The 47 have been detained before trial for almost 2 years and will be tried without a jury.
The former chairperson of the Hospital Authority Employee Alliance Winnie Yu Wai-Ming is contesting to the charge of conspiracy to subvert under the Hong Kong National Security Law in high court. Another union organiser Carol Ng, the former chairperson of Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, has indicated previously to plead guilty to charge.
Winnie Yu and Carol Ng are remanded in custody for over 480 days and 700 days respectively.
The trial is before three High Court judges Andrew Chan, Alex Lee and Johnny Chan, without a jury. 90 days set aside for trial starting today in high court (moved to West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts) and it is the most high-profile prosecution so far under national security law.
Winnie Yu and Carol Ng are charged with subversion with other 45 defendants related to their participation in an unofficial primary poll held in 2020 to select opposition candidates for the Legislative Council election, and to conspire to subvert state power. Among the 47 defendants, 16 of them including Winnie Yu pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution’s opening stated that Winnie Yu and the remaining 15 defendants conspired in Hong Kong and conspired with others to subvert state power by forcing the HKSAR government to dissolve the Legislative Council by indiscriminately vetoing the government’s budget or public expenditure. It eventually led to the resignation of the chief executive, and the purpose was to subvert the state power. The prosecution also claimed that Winnie Yu and Carol Ng had signed the joint statement promising to abide by the plan of the primary poll.
More than 600,000 people voted in the primary election, among 74 primary candidates, 31 candidates were elected, including Winne Yu.
Carol Ng and the remaining 30 defendants are intended to plead guilty. Though Carol Ng is not required to attend the trial, she remains in court today to observe the progress of the trial. The court will deal with her sentence after this trial.
Winnie Yu was granted bail on July 28, 2021, but was revoked on March 8 last year and has been in custody thereafter. Carol Ng has been remanded since 4 March, 2021 after she was refused bail.
The charge of conspiracy to commit subversion carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 10 years for serious offenders. The hearing will continue tomorrow.
Source: The Witness、South China Morning Post and Mingpao