Democracy old-timer walks out of jail for the 10th time, raring to go again

Published (HKT): 2021.04.07 21:00

A veteran Hong Kong activist has just been released from jail for the 10th time, and at 74 years old, he is not in the least perturbed about his law-breaking protests against an undemocratic China.

“This will not be my last time” in prison, Koo Sze-yiu said after he was escorted out of the maximum-security Stanley Prison on Wednesday. In his latest stay behind bars, he served a four-month term for desecrating the Chinese national flag.

“There will be an 11th time and a 12th time. I will fight on for as long as China is undemocratic. Next time, I won’t simply burn the national flag. I might break the national security law on purpose. Being in jail is part of my life.”

Upon regaining his freedom, Koo was greeted outside the prison by Catholic cardinal Joseph Zen and fellow activists Raphael Wong and Tsang Kin-shing. They brought with them a banner that read: “Human rights are above the political regime; peaceful protest is not a crime.”

Koo, a frequent co-protester with former lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, will appear in court again next week. He faces a charge of unauthorized assembly related to a protest last October.

His diagnosis of rectal cancer last year is less of a concern than pressing ahead with his agenda to achieve democracy.

“The best way out is to struggle,” Koo said. “I have participated in social and democratic movements for more than 30 years. If I gave up now, my life would be wasted.”

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