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Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow says she won't return home

'I finally don't have to worry about being arrested anymore,' she says from Canada

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow arrives at the West Kowloon Law Courts building in Hong Kong in 2020. After being freed from jail and on bail, she recently fled to Canada and announced on Sunday that she will not return to Hong Kong. File Photo by Jerome Favre/EPA-EFE
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow arrives at the West Kowloon Law Courts building in Hong Kong in 2020. After being freed from jail and on bail, she recently fled to Canada and announced on Sunday that she will not return to Hong Kong. File Photo by Jerome Favre/EPA-EFE

Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow announced on Sunday that she will not return to China from Canada, where she had been attending school despite being on bail and under investigation.

Chow, 27, wrote on Instagram that it was she intended to jump bail and not return to Hong Kong. Chow was arrested in 2020 during the original sweep of young Hong Kong pro-democracy activists connected to widespread protests in Hong Kong in 2019.

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She was released from prison in June 2021 and left Hong Kong three months ago for Canada. She said the pressure from law enforcement left her with depression and anxiety. She said she had completed her first semester at a university in Toronto.

"I want to tell you that I was originally scheduled to return to Hong Kong at the end of December to report to the police on national security law," Chow said in her lengthy message on social media.

"After careful consideration, including considering the situation in Hong Kong, my own safety, my physical and mental health, I decided not to go back and probably never go back for the rest of my life."

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Although Chow served jail time for taking part in anti-government protests, she remained under investigation for "collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security."

"I have felt for years how precious freedom from fear is," Chow said. "There is still a lot of unknowns in the future, but what can be known is that I finally don't have to worry about being arrested anymore and can say what I want to do."

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, though, issued a stern public statement on Chow Monday, saying it would "spare no effort" to bring her back to Hong Kong to face justice.

"She blatantly claimed in social media that she planned to jump bail, which is a total disregard of law and order," the Hong Kong government said in the statement. "Chow Ting's flagrant disregard for police bail terms showed that she is completely devoid of integrity.

"Fugitives should not have any delusion that they could evade legal liabilities by absconding from Hong Kong. Fugitives will be pursued for life unless they turn themselves in."

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