HONG KONG—Hong Kong’s anti-corruption watchdog has charged a singer and prominent pro-democracy activist with “corrupt conduct” at a 2018 election rally, the latest legal action against dissent by authorities in the former British colony.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said in an Aug. 2 statement that activist Anthony 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 ($64,000), the ordinance says.
Wong, 59, who gained fame with the pop duo, Tat Ming Pair, in the 1980s, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Au, who went on to win the election, also was charged. Both are due to appear in court on Aug. 5 to plea. Au wasn’t available for comment.
He was jailed for 10 months in April for organizing an unauthorized assembly. He was also arrested with 46 other prominent pro-democracy figures this year for alleged conspiracy to commit subversion of communist China under a sweeping national security law introduced by Beijing in June last year to outlaw secession, subversion, terrorism, and foreign collusion against the regime.
Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed government says the pro-democracy protests threatened “stability” in the financial hub of Hong Kong, triggered by the communist party’s encroachment on the city’s local politics, and the action taken against various people since then is necessary to uphold China’s laws.
Wong was a strong supporter of Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy “Umbrella” movement and the 2019 anti-China protests.
During the performance for Au in 2018, according to a video of it posted on Au’s Facebook page, Wong had told the audience before singing “A forbidden fruit per day” that “This song is about choice, whether society has a choice.”
Over the past year, many of the city’s leading pro-democracy figures have been detained, jailed, or forced into exile.
A major pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, closed in June after several of its senior editors were arrested on national security grounds.
On July 30, Tong Ying-kit, the first person convicted under Beijing’s security law, was sentenced by a panel of three judges to nine years in prison for terrorism and inciting secession.
The Epoch Times contributed to this report.