Taipei, February 8, 2021 – Authorities in Hong Kong should immediately release journalist Wan Yiu-sing, drop all charges against him and allow members of the press to work freely and without fear of reprisal, the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Yesterday, National Security Officers from the Hong Kong Police Force arrested Wan on four counts of “Act with Seditious Intent”, a criminal offense under the Colonial-Era Sedition Act. of the territory, according to press articles.
Wan, who broadcasts as “Giggs,” hosts a program on Internet radio station D100 that reports and comments on political issues in mainland China and Hong Kong, including the arrest of Apple Daily founder of the newspaper Jimmy Lai. D100 is an independent station with approximately 510,000 subscribers on its YouTube channel and approximately 59,000 subscribers on its Facebook page.
If convicted of sedition, Wan could face a fine of up to 5,000 Hong Kong dollars (US $ 644) and up to two years in prison for a first offense, and up to three years in prison. prison for subsequent offenses, according to the Hong Kong Crimes Ordinance. .
âThe Hong Kong authorities’ use of sedition charges against radio host Wan Yiu-sing amounts to a government attack on press freedom and freedom of expression,â said Steven Butler, CPJ Asia Program Coordinator, Washington, DC “Wan should be released with all charges dropped and the government should stop its ridiculous efforts to block political criticism from journalists.”
The charges stem from comments Wan made on four shows between August and October 2020, which police said intended to incite hatred or contempt towards the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong government, and incite Hong Kong people to illegally seek changes to the city’s legal orders, according to reports.
Hong Kong police did not immediately respond to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.
Wan felt bad in police custody last night and was hospitalized, according to reports. He was originally scheduled to attend a court hearing today, but it was adjourned until February 11, according to reports.
Hong Kong journalists have faced increasing repression and harassment since the passage of the new national security law on July 1, 2020, as documented by CPJ. On December 11, Hong Kong authorities charged Lai with foreign collusion under this law.