Published:  03:16 AM, 03 August 2021

HK authorities arrest pro-democracy singer for 'corrupt conduct'

HK authorities arrest pro-democracy singer for 'corrupt conduct' Hong Kong singer Anthony Wong Yiu-Ming attends the Hong Kong Film Awards April 19, 2015. -Reuters

Hong Kong's anti-corruption watchdog today charged a singer and prominent pro-democracy activist, Anthony Wong, with "corrupt conduct" at a 2018 election rally, the latest legal action against dissent by authorities in the Chinese-ruled city.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said in a statement that Wong had provided "entertainment to induce others to vote" for pro-democracy activist Au Nok-hin in a 2018 legislative council by-election."At the rally, Wong performed two songs on stage. At the end of the performance, he appealed to the participants of the rally to vote for Au at the election," the ICAC wrote, adding he had breached the Elections Corrupt and Illegal Conduct Ordinance.

If convicted, he could be jailed for up to seven years and fined HK$500,000 (US$64,000), the ordinance says. Wong, 59, who first came into the public limelight with pop duo, Tat Ming Pair, in the 1980s, could not immediately be reached for comment. Au, who went on to win the election, was also charged. Both are due to appear in court on Thursday to plea. Au was not available for comment. He was jailed for 10 months jail in April for organizing an unauthorized assembly.

Au was also arrested with 46 other prominent democrats this year for alleged conspiracy to commit subversion under a sweeping national security law introduced in June last year to outlaw secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign collusion. Hong Kong's Beijing-backed government says the pro-democracy protests threatened stability in the former British colony and the action taken against various people since then is necessary to uphold the law.

A popular songwriter known for his poignant lyrics, Wong was a strong supporter of Hong Kong's 2014 pro-democracy "Umbrella" movement and the 2019 anti-China protests.

He is also a vocal advocate of LGBT rights.

---AP, Hong Kong

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