《TAIPEI TIMES》 HK singer Wong is charged with ‘corrupt conduct’
Singer Anthony Wong poses for photographers on the red carpet of the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards in Hong Kong on April 13, 2013. Photo: AP
/ Reuters, HONG KONG
Hong Kong’s anti-corruption watchdog yesterday charged singer and prominent democracy advocate Anthony Wong （黃耀明） with “corrupt conduct” at a 2018 election rally, the latest legal action against dissent by authorities in the Chinese-ruled territory.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption （ICAC） in a statement said that Wong had provided “entertainment to induce others to vote” for democracy advocate Au Nok-hin （區諾軒） 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 that he had breached the Elections Corrupt and Illegal Conduct Ordinance.
If convicted, Wong could be jailed for up to seven years and fined HK$500,000 （US$64,317）, 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 in April for organizing an unauthorized assembly.
Au was also arrested with 46 other prominent democracy advocates this year for alleged conspiracy to commit subversion under the National Security Law introduced in June last year that outlaws “secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign collusion.”
The Hong Kong 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.
During the performance for Au in 2018, according to a video of it posted on Facebook, Wong had told the audience before singing A Forbidden Fruit Per Day: “This song is about choice, whether society has a choice.”
Over the past year, many of the territory’s leading democracy advocates have been detained, jailed or forced into exile.