The Hong Kong government on Thursday, Aug. 15, released top pro-democracy leader Benny Tai to pacify the on-going protests that led to hundreds of arrests and temporarily closed down the island’s international airport.
Vice President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Andrew Macrae approved the US$12,760 ($100,000 HKD) cash bail, stating that the appeal will be held between Feb. 24 and Feb. 26 2020.
Tai was allowed to return home, on condition that he surrender his passport, stay in Hong Kong, and live at the address he provided.
An associate professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong, Tai was found guilty and jailed in April 2019 on public disorder charges and for inciting others to create a public nuisance.
While waiting outside the Hong Kong High court, after he was granted bail, Tai told the media that he is hopeful about his appeal.
“At least our appeal is not a hopeless case,” said Tai, who continued, “So according to legal principles, bail will have to be granted.”
Tai said that he received some indication from the judge that his appeal is “not hopeless” and that “there may be some chance there.”
He was sentenced to 16 months in prison as one of the nine leaders of a 2014 campaign for universal suffrage that is known as the Umbrella Movement.
The law professor was known for initiating the 2014 Occupy Central with Love and Peace, a nonviolent civil disobedience campaign to urge the Hong Kong government to endorse full democracy.
During his interview with the media, Tai expressed confidence that “the golden era of Hong Kong is yet to come.”
“At this very moment in Hong Kong, with so many Hong Kong people who love Hong Kong so much, even though the road ahead is very unclear and will be very difficult, very tough, I still have confidence that the future of Hong Kong must be bright,” said Tai.
The foiled 2014 Umbrella Movement laid the basis for the 2019 pro-democracy protests that started in early June with massive demonstrations against the proposed extradition bill.