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Hong Kong pro-democracy activist seeks asylum in UK after completing jail term

Pro-democracy activist Tony Chung flees Hong Kong and seeks asylum in the UK after facing post-release surveillance and coercive tactics. Critics condemn Beijing’s national security law as suppressive.

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Tony Chung, one of Hong Kong’s youngest pro-democracy activists, has fled the city and formally applied for political asylum in the United Kingdom after completing his jail term.

Chung, 22, made headlines when he breached a supervision order to seek asylum, citing constant scrutiny in Hong Kong that had subjected him to an “enormous amount of stress.”

Chung’s troubles began with his arrest under the Beijing-imposed national security law, a controversial legislation that has been widely criticized for stifling dissent and protest in Hong Kong.

Chung’s arrival at Heathrow occurred on Thursday (28 Dec). (Photo: Facebook/Tony Chung)

The arrest came in the aftermath of the 2019 democracy protests, and in November 2021, Chung was sentenced to 43 months in prison on charges of secession and money laundering.

Critics of the government argue that the national security law, with its maximum sentence of life imprisonment, has been weaponized to suppress protests.

Since its implementation in 2020, nearly 300 people have been arrested under its provisions.

In a Facebook post on 28 December 2023, Chung revealed that he had sought political refuge in the UK after enduring “stringent surveillance” following his release from prison in June.

Despite being granted permission to travel to Japan for Christmas by the Correctional Services Department, Chung took a flight from Japan to the UK, expressing deep regret over the necessity to leave his homeland.

Chung disclosed the challenges he faced upon his release, with the police monitoring his bank account and preventing him from accepting a summer job, citing specific business restrictions.

His post also detailed a decline in his health over the past six months, attributing it to significant mental stress and coercive attempts by national security police to recruit him.

Moreover, Chung shared his experience of being compelled to participate in a compulsory “deradicalization” program while in detention, where guards allegedly claimed detainees were “manipulated” by the United States.

Chung’s decision to seek asylum follows the footsteps of other pro-democracy activists leaving Hong Kong. Agnes Chow, a former student leader, recently announced her move to Canada, vowing not to return to Hong Kong to meet bail conditions.

Nathan Law, Anna Kwok, and Finn Lau are among several others who have fled abroad, fearing arrest, with bounties placed on them.

Simultaneously, in a separate development, a Hong Kong court sentenced three activists, aged between 20 and 23, to up to six years in prison for their involvement in a foiled plot to bomb public buildings.

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He can work for MI6. Better pay than CCP intelligence wing.

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