Hong Kong’s jails are filling up with the likes of [Figo] Chan. Some 2,500 people have undergone or are undergoing court proceedings in connection with the protests, which amounted to the biggest rebuke of Beijing’s rule on Chinese soil in decades. The defendants range from prominent activists to unknowns.
Chan’s case underscores the city’s political shift. He is a leader of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), a civil society group that led the largest and most peaceful marches during 2019 — often with permits from the police — and which long operated with the authorities’ blessing. Now, in addition to prosecuting Chan and other front leaders, police have suggested the group might be illegal and have begun investigating its funding — a probable precursor to shutting it down.
Chan was 16 when he started attending Hong Kong’s annual June 4 vigil to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Straight-talking and unafraid to criticize his political allies, he caught the eye of Raphael Wong, a member of the League of Social Democrats, a left-leaning pro-democracy party, who recruited Chan as a party member in 2015. Chan, then in his freshman year at a vocational institute, finished the application at a bar over drinks with Wong, who described him as “quick-witted” and mature beyond his years...
He admits that he fears getting the maximum sentence for all his charges — a decade in prison. [But] “I think I would still relive this life,” he said. “I didn’t ask anyone to do anything high-risk, just to join rallies and peaceful civil disobedience movements, like activists in Hong Kong always did.”
Prison, he said, will be an opportunity to reflect on the protest movement. He plans to “finally slow down and have time” to jot down his thoughts, and assess what Hong Kong has gained or lost from resisting Beijing’s encroachment...
[On Monday, a]s correctional officers escorted Chan from the court, he shouted for Hong Kongers to “persist” before he disappeared from view as he was taken to a prison van.
After being transported to Lai Chi Kok Detention Centre, Figo Chan and the five other newly remanded prisoners were filmed disembarking from the prison van. Check out the still photo of him: still defiant, he's got the "five demands, not one less" hand signs up for the camera to record for posterity.