HKSAR government vows to pursue anti-government figure Chow Ting in line with law

2023-12-05 08:45:35Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government vowed to pursue the anti-government figure Agnes Chow Ting in accordance with the law and severely condemned her shameful act of absconding in fear of facing her crimes, after Chow revealed that she has no plans to return to Hong Kong despite being required to report to the police in December as part of a national security investigation.

Chow, who was arrested by the national security department of the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) on suspicion of colluding with foreign countries or foreign forces to endanger national security, openly stated on social media that she would jump bail and abscond, disregarding the law and discipline, the HKSAR government said in a statement on Monday evening. 

Chow's open statement ignores the police's bail conditions, and her integrity is now completely ruined, as, in an attempt to evade legal consequences, she never seriously faced her alleged violations of law and order, the government said. 

No matter what excuses she uses or tries to earn sympathy through deception, she cannot hide her hypocritical and shameful behavior and lawless nature, it noted. 

The HKPF also strongly condemned her irresponsible action, which challenges the rule of law. 

Legal experts warned that in addition to her previous serious crimes of colluding with foreign forces, Chow is committing a second offence by absconding, and law enforcement authorities can apply to the court to confiscate her bail and issue an international arrest warrant through Interpol. Given that Chow is currently abroad, if she is in or transits through a country with an extradition agreement with Hong Kong, the police can request her extradition for trial.

China is a country under the rule of law, and Hong Kong is a society ruled by law. The rights and interests of Hong Kong residents enjoyed in accordance with the law are fully protected, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday in response to Chow's decision. 

At the same time, no one has any extrajudicial privileges, and any illegal and criminal act is bound to be punished by law, Wang said.

Chow was arrested by the police's national security department in August, 2020, and is  suspected of running an organization with two other individuals which was pushing for foreign sanctions on Hong Kong, violating the National Security Law (NSL) for Hong Kong. She was separately sentenced to 10 months imprisonment on November 23 in 2020 on charges related to a siege of police headquarters during the 2019 anti-government protests. 

Chow was released in June 2021 under strict bail conditions detailed in the NSL for Hong Kong, which included being required to report to the police on regular basis. Chow's passport was also been confiscated, meaning she cannot leave the city, according to media reports. She has to sign a notice of detention of travel documents every three months. 

Chow applied for a university in Canada earlier this year and applied for approval to leave the city to the police's national security department. She was then asked to write letter of apology, promising that she will not participate in political movements or make contact with relevant individuals. 

After she met the requirements of the police, Chow obtained a passport in September and left Hong Kong to Toronto, Canada, local media reported. 

Chow said she had scheduled to return to Hong Kong and report the police at the end of this month, but eventually decided not to return. 

"After careful consideration, including the situation in Hong Kong, my physical and mental health, I decided not to report back and will never go back," she said in a social media post on late Sunday. 

Chow was arrested by national security department of the HKPF on August 10, 2020 for suspected "collusion with external elements." She was later sentenced to imprisonment for other offences from late 2020 to mid-2021. The individual has been released on bail by the department, the HKPF said in a statement on Monday. 

Police also restricted her from leaving Hong Kong according to Schedule 2 of Article 43 of the NSL for Hong Kong. While on bail, she reported back to police punctually and cooperatively, the police said. 

Chow earlier told police that she wished to study abroad and provided admission documents as a proof. Hence, the department returned the travel documents to her and extended her bail until December.

The HKPF also urged Chow to immediately return before it is too late and not to choose a path of no return. Otherwise, she will bear the stigma of "fugitive" for the rest of her life.

Chow's deliberate online announcement of "absconding" is a calculated move, openly challenging the law and trampling on the rule of law, "which is despicable act," Willy Fu, a law professor who is also the director of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Monday. 

"If Chow refuses to return to Hong Kong, law enforcement can apply to the court to confiscate her bail and issue an international arrest warrant through Interpol," he said, noting that Chow should deeply reflect and not to repeat her mistakes.

Endangering national security is an extremely serious crime. The HKSAR government will fight against these crimes with all its strength and pursue them to the end, the government said. No fugitive should think that they can escape criminal responsibility by fleeing Hong Kong. Fugitives will be hunted for life unless they surrender, it added. 

Since Chow is now currently out of territory, she may be extradited to Hong Kong if she presents in a country which had signed mutually extradition laws with Hong Kong. She may be arrested immediately once she steps onto Hong Kong soil again in the future, Chu Kar-kin, a veteran current affairs commentator based in Hong Kong and member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Monday. 

Taking lessons from Nathan Law, Chow's former party member, Law, a former chairman of the now-disbanded Hong Kong independence organization Demosisto, also lives as a fugitive abroad, completely isolated. His own brother publicly disassociated himself from Law, Chu said. 

These individuals must understand that their crimes are serious criminal offenses, not so-called political crimes, and they are unlikely to receive political asylum under normal circumstances, he said. 

These Hong Kong separatists should realize that once they are no longer useful, they will be abandoned and live their lives as fugitives, unable to return home, leading a life of uncertainty, unable to live with dignity, occasionally seeking exposure for living support, the expert noted. "The only way out for a fugitive is to return to Hong Kong, take legal responsibility for their past actions, sincerely repent, and turn back from the brink."

The HKSAR government also advised Chow to cooperate with police, take responsibility for her actions and correct her mistakes, otherwise she will be trapped in deep trouble and regret.


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