Hong Kong activist who tried to flee to Taiwan while facing 2019 protest charges pleads guilty to ‘perverting the course of justice’ – JURIST

Hong Kong activist Tang Kai-yin pleaded guilty on Wednesday to “perverting the course of justice” at Hong Kong’s District Court, according to local media outlet The Witness. Tang attempted to flee Hong Kong for Taiwan on August 23, 2020, via speedboat while facing charges over the 2019 Hong Kong protests.

Tang was en route to Taiwan when coast guard authorities of Shenzhen, China intercepted the speedboat in waters under Guangdong province’s jurisdiction. The Yantian District People’s Court in Shenzhen then sentenced Tang in December 2020 to three years in prison for illegal border crossing. Tang was transferred back to Hong Kong in August 2023 after serving his three-year sentence in mainland China.

During Tang’s Hong Kong trial, the prosecution stated that Tang sought help for his attempted escape to Taiwan from Hong Kong activists in a Telegram group chat. The prosecution also said that Tang purchased a satellite phone, gas and the speedboat for about HK$350,000. Tang told the police that he transferred HK$240,000 to a person identified as “King Kong” in court. “King Kong” was to remit the cash to Tang upon his arrival in Taiwan.

District Judge Ernest Lin told Tang that he would most likely be sentenced to prison. Judge Lin extended Tang’s remand in custody and adjourned his sentencing to April 16. Tang’s lawyer asked the court to grant Tang a one-third prison sentence reduction since he aided the police after returning to Hong Kong.

The 2019 Hong Kong protests were fueled by the Hong Kong extradition bill that proposed to allow fugitives to be transferred from Hong Kong to jurisdictions that lack an extradition deal with Hong Kong, such as mainland China and Macau. The bill was subsequently withdrawn by former Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in September 2019 after a series of mass protests.

Earlier this month Hong Kong activists Gregory Wong, Ho Chun-yin, Ng Chi-yung and Lam Kan-kwan were convicted over rioting at the Legislative Council Complex on July 1, 2019. The riot occurred in the broader context of the 2019 Hong Kong protests. In September Hong Kong protester Fung Ching-wah was sentenced to four years in prison over perverting the course of justice and rioting. Fung was arrested during the National Day protests in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong on October 1, 2019.

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