Activist in court for first time after full escort from psych ward

Top News | Wallis Wang 8 Apr 2021

Activist Andy Li Yu-hin has been remanded in custody after appearing for the first time in court since being returned from the mainland.

Amid tight security yesterday Li - one of eight fugitives sent back to Hong Kong on March 22 after serving seven months in jail in the mainland for illegal crossing as he attempted to flee to Taiwan - was brought before chief magistrate Victor So Wai-tak.

Li, 30, was charged with conspiracy to commit collusion with a foreign country or with external elements, endangering national security, at West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts.

He faces another count of conspiracy to assist an offender and one for possession of ammunition without a license.

Dressed in a white shirt and holding a stack of documents, Li constantly looked at the public gallery from the dock and said he understood the charges. He did not apply for bail and also gave up his rights to apply for another bail review in eight days.

Li was remanded in the Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre until his next court appearance on May 18.

The prosecution said Li's trial will be heard by the Court of First Instance at the High Court later.

Barrister Lawrence Law Tat-hung, who took up the case without the knowledge of Li's family, represents the activist.

Trevor Chan Tin-Lup, an instructing solicitor who referred Li's case to Law, said he was not a government-appointed lawyer for Li.

Chan said Li is applying for legal aid and did not want to disclose anything about the case, adding he should respect his client's wishes.

But he refused to say who required him to handle the case or how he reached Li, saying: "Don't push me. It's also hard for me."

Li was escorted to court from Siu Lam by at least 16 policemen on motorcycles and several police cars. Armed officers wearing bulletproof vests and helmets and armed with submachine guns and shotguns were stationed outside the court.

The judiciary requested all persons who attended the hearing to undergo security checks. They were banned from bringing any items that can be used as offensive weapons into the court, such as liquids, knives or scissors.

Six to seven security guards were seen taking turns to check all persons entering the courtroom.

Li's sister said she will no longer respond to media inquiries because the legal proceedings have begun.

The Twitter account "Andy Is Missing" - opened by the sister - will also be shut down as the family could now reach Li.

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