Hong Kong Moves Pro-Democracy Activist to Mental Hospital

Police arrest anti-government protesters at Hong Kong Polytechnic University on November 18, 2019 in Hong Kong, China. Anti-government protesters armed with bricks, firebombs, and bows and arrows fought with the police at university campuses over the weekend as demonstrations in Hong Kong stretched into its sixth month with demands for …
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A Hong Kong real estate agent accused of attacking a man with a knife and physically assaulting another person during last Friday’s pro-democracy protests in the city has been remanded to a psychiatric facility, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Monday.

Kwong Sing-yu, 27, faces three counts in a criminal complaint filed against him on Monday at Hong Kong’s Kwun Tong Court. The alleged crimes occurred on June 12, when Kwong joined hundreds of others in demonstrations to mark the first anniversary of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement. At least 53 people were arrested during last week’s anniversary protests.

Kwong stands accused of slashing a man named Ma Fu-shin with a knife and assaulting another man named Fung Man-kit at a bus station near the MTR rail station in Hong Kong’s eastern Kwun Tong district. According to the complaint, the alleged attacks occurred last Friday around 9:00 PM, when protesters gathered in the area. Ma allegedly sustained a cut to his left hand following the attack, while the report failed to reveal Fung’s injury, if any.

According to the report, law enforcement authorities arrested Kwong and took him to the local police station for questioning, where they say they found him in possession of an “unknown substance.”

On Monday, Kwong was charged with one count each of “assault occasioning actual bodily harm and wounding” and “possession of Part 1 poison,” presumably the “unknown substance” found on Kwong. According to Hong Kong law, the maximum penalty for “possession of part 1 poison” is two years in prison and a fine of $13,000. “Assault occasioning actual bodily harm and wounding” is punishable by up to three years in prison, according to the SCMP.

On Monday, defense lawyers for Kwong said that he had been battling depression for over a year and was “mentally unstable,” requiring “regular medical attention.” This prompted the acting principal magistrate, Ivy Chui Yee-mei, to order two psychiatric evaluations to see if the defendant is “mentally fit” to enter a plea. The case has been adjourned until June 29, pending the evaluations. Kwong has been remanded to Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre in the Hong Kong satellite town of Tuen Mun, according to the report.

Communist regimes have a long history of practicing “punitive psychiatry,” or sending political dissidents to mental hospitals as a form of punishment for defying authority. In Wuhan, China, in March, a local man told the Epoch Times that the CCP accused him of “paranoid psychosis” and sent him to a mental health facility after he filed a lawsuit against the Communist Party for violating his rights. Communist Party leader and Chinese dictator Xi Jinping has implemented a strict crackdown on critics of the CCP since 2013, when China’s first mental health law was passed. Under the guise of enforcing the law, government authorities target dissidents for mental health issues and detain them in state-run psychiatric facilities. Such tactics have been documented in other Communist states as well, including the Soviet Union and Cuba.
Kwong’s case in Hong Kong echoes this established practice of Communist authorities manipulating mental health laws to detain and punish political dissidents.

More pro-democracy protests are planned in Hong Kong in the coming days following last week’s anniversary demonstrations. The city’s pro-democracy movement began last summer in response to a proposed extradition law that would have seen Hong Kong nationals and foreign nationals charged with crimes shipped to China for a trial decided by the Chinese Communist Party’s repressive regime.

More recently, pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have been vocally opposing a draft national security law passed by China last month that would effectively abolish the city’s special freedoms. A former British colony, Hong Kong was allowed relative autonomy from Beijing under conditions agreed to when it was handed back to China in 1997.


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