Hong Kong Cantopop star charged for poll rally singing

Former lawmaker Au Nok-hin charged with ‘corruption’

August 02, 2021 10:49 pm | Updated 11:00 pm IST - Hong Kong

In this Saturday, April 13, 2013, file photo, Hong Kong singer Anthony Wong Yiu-ming poses for photographers on the red carpet of the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards in Hong Kong. Wong was arrested Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, by the city's anti-corruption watchdog, over accusations of corrupt conduct during a 2018 election, the latest move by authorities amid a crackdown on political dissent in the city. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

In this Saturday, April 13, 2013, file photo, Hong Kong singer Anthony Wong Yiu-ming poses for photographers on the red carpet of the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards in Hong Kong. Wong was arrested Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, by the city's anti-corruption watchdog, over accusations of corrupt conduct during a 2018 election, the latest move by authorities amid a crackdown on political dissent in the city. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

A prominent Hong Kong popstar was charged on Monday with corruption for singing at an election rally of a pro-democracy politician, authorities said, the latest figure critical of China to face prosecution.

Anthony Wong Yiu-ming, a local Cantopop singer and one of the city’s most visible LGTBQ activists, was arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which answers to the city’s leader.

The watchdog said they charged Mr. Wong and former lawmaker Au Nok-hin with engaging in corrupt conduct by providing “entertainment to induce others to vote for the candidate” at a rally Mr. Au held on March 3, 2018 in the run-up to local legislature elections.

The arrests come as Hong Kong authorities carry out a widespread crackdown on dissent following huge and often violent pro-democracy protests two years ago.

“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 said.

The offence can lead to up to three years in jail and a fine of up to HK$200,000 ($26,000). Both Mr. Wong and Mr. Au will appear in court on Thursday to plea.

Hong Kong’s anti-corruption watchdog has begun taking a more proactive role in bringing prosecutions against the city’s pro-democracy opposition.

Last week, they announced corruption charges against jailed dissident Benny Tai and two others relating to pro-democracy adverts placed in newspapers five years ago.

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