A Hong Kong court has released pro-democracy activists in custody

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After a four-day hearing on Thursday, a Hong Kong court ruled that 47 pro-democracy activists should remain in custody. They are charged with subversive activities under the National Security Act.

The West Cowbury Magistrate Court denied bail to 31 activists. Another defendant, law professor Benny Time, withdrew his own bail because he was busy with another case.

According to local sources, the presiding magistrate ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the defendants did not pose a threat to national security and therefore refused bail.

The other 15 people initially agreed to bail, much to the delight of people gathered outside, but after law enforcement appealed the bail decision, those 15 people remained in custody. Their bail case is expected to be decided by the Hong Kong High Court.

These 47 defendants are part of a 55-member pro-democracy group arrested during raids in the early hours of January. Their arrests were linked to Hong Kong’s unofficial “first” election in July, when citizens were allowed to vote for opposition candidates. Voting took place ahead of the Legislative Council elections, which were supposed to take place last year, but were postponed.

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