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Hong Kong Court Extends Travel Ban on Activist Joshua Wong

2020-09-30 -- A court in Hong Kong on Wednesday extended a travel ban on pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong in connection with an "illegal" protest last year, and for defying a government ban on mask-wearing in public.

The Eastern Magistrate's Court granted bail applications from Wong and co-defendant Koo Sze-yiu, who face charges of "taking part in an illegal assembly" on Oct. 5, 2019, before adjourning until Dec. 18.

But while it lifted a travel ban linked to bail for Koo, it extended the ban on Wong leaving Hong Kong.

Protesters and supporters gathered outside the courtroom, chanting: "Go Joshua Wong!" as dozens of uniformed police officers stood by, while a pro-China group showed up to shout insults and call for Wong's bail application to be denied.

Koo, who has stage IV cancer requiring chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, said public rallies don't need to seek the approval of the authorities before going ahead.

Wong, who faces a number of protest-related charges in separate cases, said he had no intention of giving up his activism.

He said the extended travel ban was likely aimed at ensuring he can't promote the cause of the Hong Kong protesters overseas, as fellow activist Nathan Law has done.

"The prosecution once more applied for me to be prevented from leaving Hong Kong," he said. "The government wants to create a chilling effect under the guise of a criminal trial."

"By bringing case after case against me, they have succeeded in preventing me from leaving Hong Kong, to make it much harder for me to talk about Hong Kong's resistance movement to the rest of the world," he said.

"But what I have to put up with is nothing compared to the charges [faced by many others] of rioting, assault and conspiracy, not to mention the 12 Hongkongers [detained] in Shenzhen," Wong said.

He called on Hongkongers to remember the 12 detainees in Hong Kong, whose speedboat was seized by the China Coast Guard as they tried to flee to the democratic island of Taiwan.

March application turned down

Hong Kong police last week turned down an application to hold a protest march on China's Oct. 1 National Day public holiday, to call for the release of the 12 detainees.

"I believe that Hongkongers will use different methods, today, tomorrow, and in the future, to express their concern for them," Wong said.

Wong, 23, was arrested on Sept. 24 as he reported to Central Police Station in connection with another ongoing protest-related case.

He has already served several months' of prison time in connection with last year's anti-extradition and pro-democracy protests and the 2014 Occupy Central movement.

He continues to face six charges in three separate cases, including "inciting others to participate in an illegal assembly," "organizing an illegal assembly," and violating an emergency law banning masks in public.

Reported by Lau Siu-fung for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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