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AdOnly 3% of people can do this! Click to try it yourselfSouth China Morning PostHong Kong protests: activist charged under security law in city after release from mainland prisonA Hong Kong activist who was among the eight fugitives sent back to the city this week after serving jail time in mainland China has been charged with colluding with foreign forces under the national security law. Andy Li Yu-hin – one of 12 arrested in mainland waters last summer while trying to flee to Taiwan – was also charged on Wednesday with conspiracy to assist offenders and possession of ammunition without a licence. However, the 30-year-old did not appear in West Kowloon Court, where the case was heard, as he had to undergo two weeks of coronavirus quarantine following his return from a Shenzhen detention centre.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Nor did Li’s lawyers appear before presiding Chief Magistrate Victor So Wai-tak, one of the judges handpicked by city leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to oversee security law proceedings. Eight fugitives sent back to Hong Kong, lawyer hits out at ‘secretive’ police Senior public prosecutor Ivan Cheung Cheuk-kan acknowledged Li’s legal representatives were absent, but did not explain why. He also declined to identify Li’s counsel when pressed by journalists outside the court. The magistrate postponed the case to next Wednesday, and exempted Li from attending the next hearing. Li will complete his time in quarantine on April 4. Li was among six people arrested last August for allegedly colluding with foreign forces. Others arrested included media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and activist Agnes Chow Ting. The prosecution accused Li of conspiring with others to ask foreign countries to impose sanctions or a blockade, or engage in other hostile activities, against Hong Kong or mainland China. The others involved in the same alleged plot include Lai, founder of Next Digital and the tabloid-style Apple Daily newspaper; his right-hand man Mark Simon; paralegal Chan Tsz-wah and activist Lau Cho-dick. Only Li and Chan have been charged over the purported scheme so far. Ten Hong Kong fugitives captured at sea jailed up to three years by Shenzhen court Li was also charged with conspiracy to assist offenders under the city’s Criminal Procedure Ordinance over the unsuccessful escape bid last summer, which prosecutors say was a separate plot in which Lai and Chan also played a part. The third charge stems from what prosecutors say was an illegal collection of spent ammunition – comprising 232 tear gas rounds, 7 foam rounds and 38 rubber baton rounds – found at a Sha Tin flat on the day of Li’s arrest.Police’s handling of Li’s case has drawn criticism from barrister Chow Hang-tung, who is helping the 12 fugitives and their families. Chow accused police on Monday of interviewing the activist in the absence of his legal representatives. She declined to give an update as to whether Li had met his lawyers when approached for comment on Tuesday. Li and seven others sent back from Shenzhen on Monday were each jailed for seven months in the mainland city for illegally crossing the border during their attempt to reach Taiwan on August 23 last year. The seven others, Cheng Tsz-ho, Cheung Chun-fu, Cheung Ming-yu, Yim Man-him, Li Tsz-yin, Kok Tsz-lun and Wong Wai-yin, all face charges stemming from the 2019 anti-government protests. Their cases were heard in four courts on Tuesday. Prosecutors asked for adjournments of up to two weeks so they could complete their time in quarantine. Of the 12 originally arrested, mainland authorities sent two underage suspects back to Hong Kong in December, while the remaining two convicted of organising the escape are still serving their sentences on the mainland.More from South China Morning Post:Beijing’s move to disbar lawyers in Hong Kong fugitives case sends a chill through mainland human rights circlesChina revokes licence of second mainland lawyer involved in case of 12 Hong Kong fugitives caught at seaMainland China human rights lawyer hired to represent Hong Kong fugitive accuses authorities of ‘framing’ him to revoke licenceMainland Chinese lawyer who helped Hong Kong fugitive in Shenzhen hits out at ‘baffling suppression’ as he faces loss of licenceTen Hong Kong fugitives captured at sea jailed up to three years by Shenzhen court, two other underage suspects handed to city’s policeThis article Hong Kong protests: activist charged under security law in city after release from mainland prison first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
a day agoNorth Korea missile tests ‘aimed at US-South Korea defence ties’The North Korean missile tests conducted at the weekend were a sign of Pyongyang’s frustration over deepening US-South Korean defence ties, but were calculated not to provoke a backlash, according to diplomatic observers. Senior US administration officials said on Tuesday that Pyongyang fired short-range missiles off North Korea’s western coast on Sunday. They were initially described as ballistic weapons but that assessment was revised on Wednesday.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. “The North test-fired what were believed to be two cruise missiles from Onchon county on Sunday morning. They were all short-range,” a Joint Chiefs of Staff military official in Seoul said. Neither cruise missiles nor short-range missiles are covered by UN Security Council resolutions aimed at deterring North Korea from pursuing nuclear and ballistic weapons. The launches did not prompt a strong response in Washington, with US President Joe Biden saying he did not consider the tests amounted to provocation. China’s response was also muted. “We urge all parties to continue dialogue and consultation, and work together to keep the situation calm,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Beijing on Wednesday. The launches came soon after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met his counterparts from Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing. The United States and South Korea also held joint military exercises earlier this month, prompting threats from Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. North Korea seeks to strengthen its ties to China, even as it ignores US Analysts said the launches were low-level expressions of Pyongyang’s dissatisfaction with Washington, which is reportedly close to finalising a major review of its North Korea policy. Professor Yang Moo-jin, from the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said the tests coincided with the North Korean military’s annual winter exercises, held between January and April. “This is a low-level provocative act that came on the heels of the US-South Korea joint military drills,” Yang said. “However, we have to wait and see whether this is a one-off action conducted during the military exercise or [is followed by] higher-level provocative acts.” Li Jiacheng, a research fellow with the Charhar Institute, a foreign policy think tank in the Chinese province of Hebei, agreed that the missile launches were a calculated protest aimed at the US. “It’s a direct response to the US-South Korea joint military exercise and can be seen as concrete implementation of Kim Yo-jong’s warning against the US not to ‘cause a stink’,” Li said. US-China tensions give North Korea an opportunity to strengthen its position in nuclear talks Wu Xiangning, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Macau, said the timing of the tests so soon after Blinken’s meetings in Alaska with top Chinese officials last week indicated that Pyongyang was taking the temperature of China and the US in relation to the Korean peninsula. “After the bilateral dialogue in Alaska, Pyongyang wants to know whether China will coordinate with the US in squeezing North Korea, and whether China and the US are more willing to cooperate rather than to argue over North Korea issues,” Wu said. Bi Yingda, a research fellow at Institute for Korean Peninsula Studies at Shandong University, said Pyongyang’s decision to fire cruise missiles instead of ballistic ones was not unexpected. “I think many countries expected Pyongyang to launch cruise missiles,” Bi said. “The United States’ policy toward North Korea is still unclear, and North Korea has been defined as a threat. In addition, South Korea-US joint military exercises have begun again ... so North Korea decided to respond, but it was moderate.” North Korea has been subjected to United Nations sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, including the development of the Hwasong-15, which has the potential to hit the continental United States. In January, North Korea unveiled a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile at a military showcase, which it declared to be “the world’s most powerful weapon”. Additional reporting by Park Chan-kyongMore from South China Morning Post:North Korea launches short-range missiles, but US officials play down moveUS-China tensions give North Korea an opportunity to strengthen its position in nuclear talksIs North Korea’s move to cut ties with Malaysia a ‘test’ for Joe Biden?North Korea snubs US offer for talks, citing ‘hostile policy’, as Blinken continues Seoul visitThis article North Korea missile tests ‘aimed at US-South Korea defence ties’ first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
a day agoYellen signals US corporate tax hike, Powell again downplays inflationUS Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday signaled that President Joe Biden is willing to hike corporate taxes to pay for his administration's priorities, while Fed Chair Jerome Powell again downplayed fears that inflation would spike as the economy healed from the Covid-19 pandemic. headtopics.comRead more: Yahoo Singapore »