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Former Hong Kong politician Ted Hui says court ruling aims to silence him, but he won’t stop speaking out

The High Court in Hong Kong ruled former Hong Kong politician Ted Hui guilty of criminal contempt in litigation arising from his role in 2019 protests in Hong Kong.
The sentence has yet to be handed down, but Mr Hui – who is currently living in Australia – told SBS News he expects a jail-term of years, if not decades.

He condemned the ruling, saying the charges are aimed at silencing those who criticise China’s government.

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“[They are] ridiculous political charges against me. And they are used to silence dissidents; and that’s how they are motivated to trigger these criminal charges.
“And it doesn’t affect my freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and it doesn’t deter my determination to continue to fight for Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy in the international arena. So I will speak up and do my best.”
Months of protests in 2019 were triggered by a controversial extradition law proposed by China’s government. Critics feared the extradition bill could undermine judicial independence and endanger dissidents.
The Secretary for Justice brought the case against Hui, which was tried in his absence.

Judge Andrew Chan ruled that evidence had been presented to support a conviction for criminal contempt connected to his actions in skipping bail in December 2020. He did not return to Hong Kong after visiting the UK via Denmark for the purported reason of attending an environmental conference.

At the time Hui was on bail and facing a number of criminal charges relating to protests within the legislative chamber during his time as a politician and a protest in July 2019, during which he allegedly erased video footage from another person’s phone.
He said he rejects the accounts from officials in Hong Kong.

“I was in a street protest and some young protesters were harassed. I was trying to mediate between the two, asking people people to calm down. But it was interpreted by the regime as stirring anger and threatening people and destroying evidence. So they make up stories. That’s what they do to dissidents.”

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Hui resigned as a Hong Kong legislator in 2020 in protest when China’s government moved to disqualify his pro-democracy colleagues and replace them with those considered patriots.
He was also at the centre of chaotic scenes in Hong Kong parliament, where he threw a rotting plant in the Legislative Council.
He said he has already been pressured by Hong Kong officials to remain silent through property freezing orders – and this latest court ruling builds on that.
“I think that this is the first case in recent years, that anyone in exile [from Hong Kong] would receive all guilty judgment in absentia,” he said.

“I think it shows that the situation has been intensified by the regime – that there will be more oppression against overseas Hong Kongers who speak against the Hong Kong regime.”

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