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Politics

Agnes Chow and Jimmy Lai freed on bail in Hong Kong

Activist and media mogul released a day after they were arrested under security law

Agnes Chow in an Aug. 5 court appearance: The pro-democracy activist was arrested Aug. 10 on new charges.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong police released pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow on bail Tuesday night, the day after her arrest under China's new security law for the territory.

"I don't completely understand why I was arrested," Chow told reporters after her release, calling what happened to her "political suppression." This was the "most scary" of her four arrests, she said. Chow revealed that her passport had been seized.

Police allege that she endangered national security by colluding with "a foreign country or with external elements" through social media since July. She was taken into custody the same day as media tycoon Jimmy Lai, founder of the Apple Daily, a newspaper with a pro-democratic editorial bent.

Lai, who faces similar charges, was released on bail shortly after midnight, following Chow's release. He was surrounded by supporters holding the Tuesday edition of the Apple Daily, splashed with a headline declaring that the paper will "fight on."

The Chinese-language Oriental Daily News reported that Lai's bail was 500,000 Hong Kong dollars ($64,500).

Chow was arrested last year for her role in an unauthorized anti-government protest. She pleaded guilty this July and is expected to be sentenced as early as December. She is barred from traveling outside Hong Kong.

Chow, a prominent figure in the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement of 2014, has frequently visited Japan to advocate for a democratic Hong Kong. Her arrest sparked calls there for her speedy release, with #FreeAgnes trending on Japanese Twitter. She is fluent in Japanese and often tweets in the language.

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