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Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Hong Kong democracy advocate Tony Chung revealed his decision to seek asylum in Britain due to increased scrutiny and constraints imposed by local authorities. Chung, who gained attention as the youngest person imprisoned under Hong Kong’s national security law in 2021, pleaded guilty to “secession” and served a three-and-a-half-year sentence.

Since his early release in June, Chung expressed living in constant fear, detailing limitations on his daily life and pressures to become an informant. Authorities allegedly restricted his employment options and coerced him to collaborate by offering informant fees. Fearing detention, Chung, in a statement posted on social media, disclosed that he successfully left Hong Kong under the pretext of a holiday in Okinawa, Japan, before formally applying for political asylum upon his arrival in the United Kingdom.

Hong Kong’s correctional services deputy commissioner, Leung Kin-ip, condemned Chung for evading responsibility and endangering national security. Authorities issued a recall order, seeking collaboration with law enforcement agencies to pursue Chung according to the law. Chung’s departure follows a similar move by activist Agnes Chow, who relocated to Canada after reaching an agreement with the police.

Chung, formerly the convenor of the disbanded Student Localism group, cited significant mental stress and periodic meetings with national security police, where he was questioned about his activities. The activist described being compelled to sign orders prohibiting public speaking and dissemination of information related to his conviction. Legal assistance was also denied, citing a confidentiality clause under the security law.

In the social media post, Chung rejected a proposed trip to mainland China, emphasizing his status as a “Hong Kong exile” and expressing the impossibility of returning home in the foreseeable future. Despite the challenges, he expressed hope that the spirit of freedom and democracy would endure among the people of Hong Kong.

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