Hong Kong activist Edward Leung has been released from prison, the Hong Kong Correctional Services Department (CSD) confirmed on Wednesday.
Principal Information Officer Rita Ma of the CSD approached reporters outside Shek Pik prison on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island early on Wednesday morning and asked: “Why are you still here, he’s already gone around 3am.”
Leung inspired strong support for ideas about Hong Kong’s identity and autonomy, which China’s Communist Party does not tolerate.
He was jailed in 2018 for offenses related to clashes in 2016. His early release for good behavior was expected on Wednesday.
Leung is famous locally for having popularized the phrase “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times” which was prominent during protests in 2019.
In 2021, Hong Kong authorities criminalized the use of this phrase in the first trial against another young man, Tong Ying-kit, under the territory’s new National Security Law imposed by China’s Communist Party government in Beijing.
On Tuesday, the day before his release, Leung’s social media sites called for people to stay away from the remote prison where he has been held.