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Radio Free Asia

Hong Kong radio host gets 32-month sentence for sedition and money laundering

Rights group says the move is part of Hong Kong authorities' effort to silence criticism from journalists.

By Eugene Whong for RFA 2022.10.07 -- A court in Hong Kong on Friday sentenced a prominent online radio host to two years and eight months in prison for sedition and money laundering, charges he confessed to in a plea deal.

Prior to his February 2021 arrest, Edmund Wan Yiu-sing, known by his DJ name "Giggs," hosted programs that reported and commented on Hong Kong and Chinese politics for D100, an independent online radio station. Wan also once hosted a program for RFA's Cantonese Service from 2017 to 2020.

Authorities charged that Wan hosted programs that "incited others to resist or overthrow the Chinese Communist Party" and "promoted Hong Kong independence," the Hong Kong Free Press independent news outlet reported.

Last month, Wan pleaded guilty to one charge of seditious intent for on-air comments he made in 2020, and three charges of money laundering related to crowd funding transactions. In exchange, six other charges were left on file, which means they cannot be pursued without the court's permission.

The charges come under a law, created when Hong Kong was under British rule, that defines sedition as "intent to arouse hatred or contempt of the Hong Kong [government] or to incite rebellion, and cause dissatisfaction with it."

The sedition law was revived by the administration of Chief Executive Carrie Lam during the 2019 protest movement and has been used to arrest pro-democracy activists.

The sentence was an example of "Hong Kong authorities' relentless efforts to silence political criticism by journalists," Iris Hsu, China representative for the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a statement.

"The government should stop using the colonial-era sedition law and apparent retaliatory charges of financial crimes against the press," she said.

The money-laundering charges were for using his website and social media accounts in February 2020 to call for donations to support Hong Kongers who moved to Taiwan for study.

In addition to the time in prison, the court also ordered Wan to hand over HK$4.87 million (about U.S. $620,000) in assets.

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