The former leader of a Hong Kong pro-independence group who faced imprisonment under the territory’s national security law, has sought refuge in the United Kingdom, citing a life in Hong Kong fraught with fear. Chung, who received a three-and-a-half-year sentence in 2021 for pleading guilty to “secession” at the age of 20, disclosed on social media that he had flown from Japan to the UK and formally applied for political asylum upon his arrival in London on the evening of December 27. Sharing a photo at UK arrivals with his suitcase, Chung expressed the weight of his decision despite having anticipated this day in the past.

As a teenager, Chung led the now-defunct Student localism group and has been involved in political activism since the age of 14. He emphasized his unwavering belief that Hong Kong is the homeland of the Hong Kong nation, asserting that leaving should never be their choice.

The national security law, imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong in mid-2020, aims to restore stability following massive pro-democracy protests in the preceding year. This legislation carries severe penalties, including life imprisonment, for activities deemed subversive, seditious, colluding with foreign forces, or extremist. The law has resulted in numerous arrests, with many individuals, including elected officials, activists, and journalists, opting for exile.

Chung, released from prison in June 2023, detailed the challenges he faced in the past six months, highlighting the absence of income, coercive pressure from national security police officers to collaborate, and the impact on his physical and mental health. Frances Hui, the policy and advocacy coordinator for the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation, elaborated on the situation, revealing that Chung was compelled to provide extensive details about his interactions, including names, contacts, meeting locations, and discussion topics. The officers reportedly offered money for information and discussed arranging a trip to China. Chung claimed he was unable to seek legal or external assistance due to confidentiality clauses surrounding his interactions with national security police.

Quest: Emmanuel kelvin

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