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Hong Kong singer-activist appears in court without lawyer after withdrawing legal aid application

Tommy Yuen, who was arrested by national security police in February, stands accused of committing an act or acts with seditious intention in connection to social media posts.

By Candice Chau


A Hong Kong singer-activist charged under the colonial-era sedition law has appeared in court unrepresented after claiming that he was told to withdraw his legal aid application.

Tommy Yuen, 42, appeared at the District Court in front of hand-picked national security judge Stanley Chan on Tuesday. The singer-activist was accused of committing an act or acts with seditious intention in connection to social media posts.

Hong Kong singer Tommy Yuen holds a copy of pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily. Photo: Tommy Yuen, via Instagram.

Yuen, along with a woman, was also accused of fraud over allegedly raising money under false pretences.

The singer-activist has been remanded in custody since February.

The sedition law, which falls under the Crimes Ordinance, is different from the Beijing-imposed national security law.

The legislation, last amended in the 1970s when Hong Kong was still under British colonial rule, criminalises incitement to violence, disaffection and other offences against the administration.

Withdrawing legal aid application

The singer-activist did not have a legal representative in court on Tuesday, having withdrawn his application for legal aid on May 31.

District Court. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Yuen said the lawyer who represented him during the last court session had told him to withdraw his legal aid application, and said that he would employ a lawyer to represent him in court in the next session. He also said that he was not sure which law firm he would hire, as matters were “arranged by people outside.”

The prosecution said that they had intended to apply to amend one of the charges on Tuesday, but then said they would wait until the next court session, when Yuen had a representative.

Chan then adjourned the case to July 26, and asked Yuen if he understood that he could not be the person instigating delays in the court session by continuously and purposefully not having a legal representative.


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