Hong Kong Democrat activist Edward Leung has been released from prison

Hong Kong activist Edward Leung, 30, who first used one of the most popular protest songs from the 2019 pro-democracy demonstrations and the first slogan declared illegal under a national security law, was released from prison on Wednesday.

Leung first used “Liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our times” as a campaign slogan for a 2016 legislative election that he was later banned from participating in, due to his previous advocacy for independence from China.

Such opinion formation is now a crime under the controversial security law introduced by Beijing 2020, which gives up to life imprisonment. The first person arrested under the law drove a motorcycle with a black flag with the slogan into several police officers.

A court ruled last year that the slogan was “capable of inciting withdrawal” and sentenced former waiter Tong Ying-kit, 24, for inciting withdrawal and terrorism. About 160 others have since been arrested under the Security Act.

Leung left Shek Pik Prison, a high-security institution on Lantau Island, where the international airport is located, around 3 p.m. He did not speak to the media.

“Separated for four years, I want to cherish the precious time of being reunited with the family and returning to a normal life with them. Sincerely grateful to everyone, care and love,” Leung said in a Facebook post.

The Prison and Probation Service told Reuters that “in view of the detainee’s wishes and safety, he (she) has taken similar measures to arrange for the person concerned to be released from the Shek Pik prison during the wee hours”.

Leung was imprisoned during both the 2019 protests against the government and the subsequent crackdown under the National Security Act.

He was jailed in 2018 for his role in an overnight protest in 2016 that turned violent and injured about 130 people, mostly police, when masked activists threw bricks and burned garbage cans to vent anger over what they saw as China’s invasion of the former British colony. culture and autonomy.

His six-year sentence for rioting and attacking police, following the “Fishball Revolution”, triggered by protests against police operations in unlicensed food stalls, was reduced by a third for good behavior, local media said.

Leung was the leader of HongKongIndigenous, a now defunct political group that organized anti-China protests and advocated “localism”, which promoted a local Hong Kong identity instead of a Chinese one.

Group members Ray Wong and Alan Li were also accused of rioting in the 2016 protest. The couple later skipped bail and were granted asylum in Germany in May 2018.

(REUTERS)

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