Lawyers representing pro-democracy activist Andy Li once again denied that their firm had been appointed to the case by the Hong Kong government, saying that their client did not want to disclose any more information.
When asked by reporters how he could prove he was not government-appointed, lawyer Trevor Chan said: “I’m not because I know that I’m not,” before asking surrounding reporters not to continue pushing him on the matter.
Li appeared in public on Wednesday for the first time since being sent back to Hong Kong from mainland China. He attended a brief court hearing, where he indicated that he understood the three charges against him.
The prosecution indicated that the case would be transferred to the High Court, where Li will face charges of conspiring to collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security, conspiring to assist offenders and possessing ammunition without a license.
Li was described as looking energetic in the courtroom and, at one point, winked at those sitting in the public gallery.
Li’s lawyers, whom his sister previously said were not hired by their family, did not apply for bail on behalf of their client.
Meanwhile, the @andy_is_missing Twitter account, set up by Li’s sister while he was out of contact, announced that it would be closed since Li could now be reached.
“As the legal proceedings in Hong Kong has begun, please note that we would not be providing responses to questions related to Andy for the time being,” a tweet on the account read.
Li had initially been out of contact with family members since returning to Hong Kong on March 22 and entering mandatory quarantine. Apple Daily later reported that he was being held at a special unit of Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre.
Li served seven months in prison in Shenzhen after he was caught along with 11 others by the Chinese Coast Guard last August on a speedboat that was thought to be heading for Taiwan.
Security for Li’s hearing on Wednesday was visibly tighter, with six to seven security guards doing searches on those who entered the courtroom.
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