One of Hong Kong’s most prominent human rights defenders was arrested by city police on Tuesday (March 21) on charges of alleged witness tampering, a police source told Agence France-Presse. Albert Ho already faces up to ten years in prison for “inciting subversion” under a national security law imposed by Beijing in Hong Kong in 2020.
This time he is charged “tampering with witnesses” He was out on bail, said the source, who did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the case.
His trial for incitement to sabotage is ongoing, and Mr. Ho was released on bail in August after nearly a year in prison. The conditions of this release include, in particular, a prohibition against publishing statements that represent a threat to national security. Violation of these rules may result in immediate arrest under Hong Kong law.
The 71-year-old lawyer once led the Hong Kong Alliance, a now-disbanded group that has held annual vigils for more than 30 years to commemorate the brutal 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Albert Howe’s arrest is the latest in a series that has also seen his brother Fred Howe arrested under the National Security Act. He, also a lawyer, represented labor rights defender Elizabeth Tang Yin-ngor. Mme Tang, general secretary of the International Domestic Workers Federation, was arrested on suspicion “collusion with foreign powers”. She was also released on bail, but her sister and Fred Howe were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. They have since been released on bail.
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