Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, age 54, a Hong Kong politician, was released from jail on Aug. 13. He was arrested in September 2021 for incitement and participation in an unauthorized 2020 June 4th assembly.
Tsoi was the former vice-chair of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which was a pro-democracy organization formed on May 21, 1989, in the then British colonial era of Hong Kong. It was formed at the time of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre in Beijing.
The Alliance was disbanded by September 2021. The then chairperson Lee Cheuk-can, vice chairperson Chow Hing-tung, and Ho Chun-yan were arrested in September 2021 for “inciting subversion of state power” under the Hong Kong national security law.
Tsoi served as a member of the Alliance since 2004 when he was studying at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and assisted the Student Union in supporting the '89 Democracy Movement. He then resigned together with half of the members for safety reasons in July 2021.
A month later, the National Security Department of Hong Kong Force accused the Alliance of collusion with foreign forces and asked for the submission of documents. The Alliance rejected the police request, saying that the charge of being a “foreign agent” had not been explained and had “no legal basis.”
Around 10:00 a.m. on Aug. 13, several democratic friends were present with flowers to greet Tsoi in Tung Chung, including Leung Kam-wai, a member of the Alliance, Lo Kin-hei, chairperson of the Democratic Party, democratic member Emily Lau Wai-hing, Cheun Man-kong, Kelvin Sin Cheuk-nam, and Leung Yiu-chung.
Tsoi said he could not have the annual candlelight vigil for June 4 Massacre in Victoria park while he was in jail. Still, he observed a moment of silence and sang songs of the Democracy Movement: “Flower of Freedom” and “Democracy will Triumph and Return.”
He said there are lots of difficulties nowadays in Hong Kong, and the city has experienced significant changes in recent years, but he believed Hongkongers would never forget why they started their mission, and he is confident that it can be accomplished.
Tsoi told the media that he was working pasting envelopes in prison. He did some exciting reading. He lost six kilograms and was now able to do 100 push-ups. In prison, he has been learning about the current affairs of Hong Kong through newspapers and radio.
He says the days were hard in prison, with severe cold and hot weather, and he felt very miserable. The condition of the environment and facilities in the jail need to improve, he believed that it is already a punishment to be locked up, and there should not be other inappropriate treatment.
Though the local and the world situation is becoming more and more complicated, he still believes the democracy will return from victory.
Tsoi has no intention to leave Hong Kong and will devote time to work and focus on local people’s livelihood and grassroots issues, especially on the rights and interests of prisoners.