Hong Kong online radio host jailed for ‘seditious’ broadcasts

A Hong Kong internet radio host was jailed on Friday after being sentenced for “seditious” remarks opposing Chinese rule. ―Photo Reuters

Friday, October 07, 2022 2:02 PM MYT

HONG KONG, Oct. 7 – A Hong Kong internet radio host was jailed on Friday after being convicted of “seditious” remarks opposing Chinese rule, calling for the city’s independence and the overthrow of its government .

Beijing has waged a broad political crackdown in Hong Kong after the Chinese financial hub saw huge and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests three years ago.

Edmund Wan – better known by his DJ name ‘Giggs’ – was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of “conspiracy to do an act with seditious intent” and three money laundering charges.

District Judge Adriana Noelle Tse Ching called the 54-year-old’s case ‘very serious’ because his words added ‘fuel to the fire’ at a time when Hong Kong was facing unrest generalized social.

Wan was “clearly flouting the law” as some of the 39 shows cited by prosecutors were aired after the enactment of a Beijing-imposed national security law, the judge added.

Security legislation, combined with a colonial-era sedition law, has been used to criminalize much of dissent in Hong Kong since the 2019 protests.

In a 2020 broadcast, Wan cited the ousting of former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych and said Hong Kongers should also “kick out” then leader Carrie Lam.

Another broadcast accused the Chinese Communist Party of “cultural extermination” against minorities and said its national flag represented authoritarianism.

Wan used his broadcasts to appeal for donations to support young Hong Kongers who had fled to neighboring Taiwan.

Prosecutors pursued the money laundering charges, saying Wan’s bank accounts received funds for unclear reasons, totaling more than HK$10 million (RM5.92 million), which were “completely disproportionate” to his income.

As mitigation, defense attorneys argued that Wan was not a public figure seeking political gain and that his show had low viewing numbers on platforms such as YouTube.

Wan was first arrested in November 2020 and has been detained since February last year. He was only the second person to be arrested for sedition since Hong Kong was transferred from Britain to China in 1997. – AFP

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