A former Hong Kong legislator charged under national security laws will not be released to attend his father’s funeral in person this week, the government’s Correctional Services Department has said.
Wu Chi-wai, 58, will instead be allowed to view the proceedings via livestreaming, which the department has offered to set up for him.
The department defended its decision in a statement issued on Wednesday, in which it rebutted Apple Daily’s criticism that the rejection of his application for a leave of absence to attend the funeral on Friday was “unsympathetic and made out of political suppression.”
Wu, former chairperson of the Democratic Party, had been remanded in custody since early January for allegedly jeopardizing national security by subverting state power. He was also found to have breached his bail conditions in relation to a separate case of unauthorized assembly by not surrendering to the police one of his valid travel documents, the British National (Overseas) passport.
Wu’s father, 92, died in mid-April and the funeral was scheduled to be held on May 7.
The department said that it made the decision by taking into account different security factors, including the alleged offenses committed by the detainee, the security risk, escort route and location safety.
“It was noted that the date, time and location of the funeral have been extensively reported on social media platforms recently, and there were calls on the internet for showing support at the scene on the day of the funeral,” the department said.
It assessed the risks involved and decided to turn down the application in order to protect the safety of department officers, Wu and members of the public.
The department also offered its deepest condolences to Wu and said that it would be able to help in livestreaming the funeral happenings.
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