Hong Kong Singer Tommy Yuen Jailed for Sedition, Money Laundering

Singer Tommy Yuen Man-on has been sentenced to 26 months in prison for insulting Hong Kong’s police force and for laundering some $91,000 (HK$700,000) that he raised through crowdfunding.

The verdict was handed down Thursday by a Hong Kong District Court, which also confiscated the half of the proceeds that Yuen had not disposed of. The sentence was reduced from 39 months, as Yuen pleaded guilty.

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Yuen is a former member of the now-disbanded Cantopop boy group E-kids. He has been held in prison since February last year, awaiting trial.

The court heard that Yuen had made seditious comments on social media about a police officer who died in the line of duty and a magistrate with a heart condition.

It was also told that Yuen raised the money through the sale of biscuits and by claiming that the proceeds would go to a woman charged with rioting in the territory’s 2019 pro-democracy protests. The woman turned out to be fictitious.

The judge, Ernest Michael Lin Kam-hung, said that Yuen “had intended to paralyse society and promote Hong Kong independence” with his remarks.

“The purpose of his messages was to reignite the dissatisfaction and anxiety in society that have already subsided,” said Lin. “He did so for his own benefit at the expense of social harmony.”

In July 2020, the mainland Chinese authorities injected the National Security Law directly into Hong Kong’s mini constitution. It criminalized subversion, secession, terrorist acts and collusion with foreign powers. The law was widely drawn and gave the police significant new powers that have alarmed democrats, civil society and business partners. Hong Kong authorities say that the law has restored calm and stability to the territory.

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