This undated photo shows the building of West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts in Cheung Sha Wan, Hong Kong. A Hong Kong court ruled on June 9, 2023 that 16 political activists who are contesting a joint subversion charge for their roles in an unlawful Legislative Council primary election in 2020 have a case to answer. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
A Hong Kong court ruled on Friday that 16 political activists who are contesting a joint subversion charge for their roles in an unlawful Legislative Council primary election in 2020 have a case to answer.
Forty-seven people were arrested in 2021 for organizing and participating in the primary election, which was organized to seek a majority of Legislative Council seats needed in order to veto government bills.
All of them were charged with “conspiracy to subvert state power”. Thirty-one of them, including Benny Tai Yiu-ting, who initiated the poll, have pleaded guilty. The other 16 contested the charge.
On Friday, three judges designated to handle national security cases told the West Kowloon Court that prosecutors had produced sufficient evidence for a prima facie case of conspiracy to subvert state power against the 16 defendants.
Thirteen defendants said they intend to appear in court to defend themselves.
Judge Andrew Chan Hing-wai said that it will take 13 to 14 days for the defense to ask questions. It will take an estimated 39 days for the defense to present its case, and some defendants are expected to be summoned to testify on Monday.
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