HONG KONG (AP) — Former Hong Kong lawmaker and pro-democracy activist Ted Hui was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in jail for criminal contempt after he skipped bail and fled overseas, missing trial for cases against him.
Hui was facing charges for his role in an anti-government protest in 2019 when he left Hong Kong in December 2020. He provided what have since been deemed “false documents” as part of his application to lift travel restrictions: invitation letters and an itinerary for an official trip to Denmark.
Hui was granted approval to leave. However, he did not return to Hong Kong and eventually settled in Australia.
Hui’s sentencing comes amid a crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong after months of anti-government protests in 2019.
Authorities have arrested dozens of pro-democracy activists and many of the city’s most outspoken activists have either been jailed or fled abroad.
In a written judgment, High Court Judge Andrew Chan said that Hui had “carefully orchestrated” the deception, and that his actions “made a mockery of the criminal justice system.”
Hui was sentenced in absentia to 3 1/2 years of prison as he had shown “no remorse” for his actions.
In a Facebook post Thursday, Hui reacted to the sentencing with “dismissive derision” and described Thursday’s ruling as “barking at the moon.”
“I will continue to openly flout the unjust laws imposed by the Hong Kong Communist Party’s court system, as I stand resolute in my fight for Hong Kongers’ freedom until the end,” he wrote.
While in Hong Kong, Hui had been an outspoken pro-democracy lawmaker. He was also known for disrupting a legislative session after he threw a rotten plant in the chamber to stop a debate of the national anthem bill. He was subsequently fined 52,000 Hong Kong dollars ($6,600) for the act.
Hui is also wanted by authorities for allegedly inciting others to cast blank votes at the 2021 legislative election.