National security police in Hong Kong have rearrested an outspoken online radio show host under a colonial-era sedition law, citing comments made during his shows.
Wan Yiu-sing, known by his nickname Giggs, was arrested on suspicion of “seditious intent,” over comments he made during online radio shows he hosted from August to October 2020.
Seditious intent under the Crimes Ordinance is defined as “intent to arouse hatred or contempt of the Hong Kong [government] or to incite rebellion, and cause dissatisfaction with it.”
Wan’s arrest comes amid a city-wide crackdown on public criticism of the Hong Kong authorities and the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the wake of a draconian national security law imposed on Hong Kong from July 1, 2020.
Wan had been out on bail following an earlier arrest in November 2020 on suspicion of offering financial support to alleged pro-independence activities.
Wan was also a former RFA contractor’s guest host for the weekly show “China Forum,” which ended its run on Nov. 18.
However, Wan didn’t attend his scheduled hearing at West Kowloon Magistrate’s Court on Monday, and requested to be sent to hospital, which declined to discharge him.
The sedition charges under the 68-year-old Crimes Ordinance carry a maximum prison term of two years. They were revived by the administration of chief executive Carrie Lam during the 2019 protest movement and have been used to arrest Cheng Lai-king, the chairwoman of Central and Western District Council, and democracy activist Tam Tak-chi.
‘You can’t worry too much’
Fellow internet radio show host Tsang Kin-fung told RFA that Giggs was being arrested based on things he had said alone.
But he said it wouldn’t stop him running his own show.
“You can’t worry too much about these things, and keep second-guessing yourself about whether what you are saying is too much,” Tsang said.
“They will charge you anyway [if they want to do that], because they can [take] anything and call it evidence,” he said.
Former Hong Kong Polytechnic University social sciences lecturer Chung Kim-wah said he would carry on with his online radio show too.
“The Hong Kong government has been trying to stifle free speech for about six months now by depriving certain people of their liberty,” Chung told RFA. “But I don’t want such fear to dominate my life.”
“Freedom of speech has always been, and should be, the mark of a civilized society,” he said.
“If the government wants to do such things, then that’s its problem. We can’t all stop talking just because they try to intimidate us,” he said.
Meanwhile, police shut down a stall at a Lunar New Year flower market run by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, a group best known for organizing an annual candlelight vigil for victims of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.
Group chairman Lee Cheuk-yan told local media it had been trying to spread its message, as opposed to selling flowers.
Hong Kong’s New Year flower markets were once known for their unique blend of festive decorations and political satire, but the government has recently clamped down on any activity not involving the sale of plants.
Reported by Lau Siu Fung and Lu Xi for RFA’s Cantonese and Mandarin Services. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.Print