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

Andy Li

Wallis Wang |

Activist Andy Li Yu-hin was arrested after appearing in court for the first time since returning from the mainland.

Amid tight security, Li – one of eight refugees sent back to Hong Kong on March 22, after serving seven months in the mainland jail for illegally crossing while attempting to flee to Taiwan – was brought before the colonels Brought to Judge Victor So Wai-tak.

Thirty-year-old Li has been tried in the West Kowloon Magistrates courts of conspiracy to collude with a foreign country or with external elements that endanger national security.

He faces another conspiracy to help a perpetrator and one who owns unlicensed ammunition.

Li, dressed in a white shirt with a pile of documents, kept looking from the dock at the public gallery and said he understood the charges. He did not request a bail and also gave up his right to request another bail review within eight days.

Li was held in custody at the Siu Lam Psychiatric Center until he appeared in court on May 18.

Prosecutors said Li’s trial will later be heard in the High Court of First Instance.

Lawyer Lawrence Law Tat-hung, who took up the case without the knowledge of Li’s family, is representing the activist.

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

Chan said Li was seeking legal aid and would not reveal anything about the case. He should respect his client’s wishes.

But he refused to say who asked him to handle the case or how to contact Li, and said, “Don’t push me. It’s hard on me, too.”

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

The judiciary ordered all those who attended the hearing to undergo security checks. They were banned from bringing objects that could be used as weapons of attack, such as liquids, knives or scissors, into the court.

Six to seven security guards took turns checking everyone who entered the courtroom.

Li’s sister said she would stop responding to media inquiries since the trial has started.

The Twitter account “Andy Is Missing” opened by the sister is also closed because the family could now reach Li.