Cantonese-language singer Anthony Wong Yiu-ming has been formally charged with corruption by Hong Kong authorities. The move relates to alleged crimes in connection with a 2018 election.
Wong and former legislator Au Nok-him were charged on Monday by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Wong had previously been arrested on Thursday and granted bail. Au is already in prison, on remand, awaiting trial on National Security charges.
“The charge alleges that on March 3, 2018, Au and Wong engaged in corrupt conduct at the 2018 LegCo By-election for Hong Kong Island Geographical Constituency by providing entertainment, namely a singing performance, for another person for the purpose of inducing the other person to vote for Au at the election,” an ICAC statement said.
At a rally, Wong performed two songs on stage and appealed to the participants of the rally to vote for Au, a prominent pro-democracy figure, at the election. Au uploaded a video of the performance and declared Wong’s performance as an election advertisement.
It is illegal under Hong Kong law to use food, drink, or entertainment for the purpose of influencing how another person might vote. Au won the election.
Since the middle of 2019, and mass anti-government activities, Hong Kong authorities have engaged in a wide-ranging crackdown on the pro-democracy sector. A sweeping National Security law was introduced in July 2020 that has upended Hong Kong’s mini constitution known as the basic law and brought major change to elections and education. Most-pro-democracy legislators have either been disbarred or have resigned.
The media and entertainment sectors have also been affected by the crackdown. Pro-democracy news organization Apple Daily has been forced to close. And national security considerations have been added to the process of vetting of films for public release. Several entertainment industry figures including singer-actor Anthony Wong Chau-sang and filmmaker Pang Ho-cheung have moved abroad.