Family members of jailed Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong have sold their Hong Kong home and moved to Australia, the local newspaper Sing Tao Daily reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper reported that Wong’s mother and younger brother “had left Hong Kong for Australia a few days ago.” Wong’s father allegedly sold the family’s apartment in the Hong Kong district of South Horizons at a price ten percent below market value, according to the report. Wong’s father refused to verify the developments when contacted by the Hong Kong newspaper.
“The exodus, if confirmed, marks the highest-profile flight [from Hong Kong] of an activist’s family to date,” Coconuts Hong Kong noted on Tuesday.
Hong Kong police arrested Wong, 24, on January 8 for allegedly violating the city’s national security law, which Beijing imposed on the formerly semi-autonomous city in May 2020 to quash a year-long pro-democracy protest movement. Wong was already in prison serving a 13.5-month sentence for his involvement in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement over the past two years when he was “transferred from prison to a detention center” on January 8 and charged with “subverting state power,” Hong Kong police confirmed. Wong was sentenced to over a year in prison on December 2.
Australia offered thousands of Hongkongers “safe haven visas,” or pathways to permanent residency, last summer in response to the city’s national security law, which stripped Hong Kong of its limited civil liberties. Wong told the Australian Financial Review in July 2020 that he welcomed the country’s offer.
“Providing a lifeboat for Hong Kong people is a good move. When even countries that did not directly sign the Sino-British joint declaration provide assistance to Hong Kong people it shows how the Western world has no trust in Beijing,” Wong told the newspaper. The 1985 Sino-British joint declaration between Great Britain and China established the sovereign and administrative arrangement of Hong Kong upon its return to Chinese rule in 1997.
Another Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, Lam Cheuk-ting, also sold his Hong Kong home at a price below market value last week, according to Sing Tao Daily‘s January 19 report. Lam told Sing Tao that he sold his home to free up funds for multiple lawsuits he is currently involved in — including one he filed against the Hong Kong police in 2019 over his alleged involvement in a mob attack on pro-democracy protesters earlier that year. Lam said he has no plans to leave Hong Kong, pointing out that authorities have seized his passport so that he cannot flee Hong Kong while he remains out on bail following his arrest late last month. Hong Kong police arrested Lam on December 28 for allegedly “disclosing the personal information of individuals being investigated by police” in connection with the July 2019 mob attack.