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Day 57: April 10, 2024

The Witness: Live Update | 57th Day of Jimmy Lai’s Trial: Under Cross-Examination, Andy Li Confirms He Has Never Met Jimmy Lai

Jimmy Lai, the founder of Next Digital, and three related companies of Apple Daily are charged with “conspiracy to collude with foreign forces.” The case continued its 57th day of trial on Wednesday (10th) at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts (acting as the High Court) under the National Security Law. The fourth accomplice witness, Andy Li, one of the “12 Hongkongers,” testified for the 14th day. Under cross-examination by the defense, Li confirmed that he had never met Jimmy Lai, “whether it’s by phone, online meeting, or any other method,” and had never communicated with him.

The case is presided over by High Court judges designated under the National Security Law, Esther Toh Lye-ping, Susana Maria D’Almada Remedios, and Alex Lee Wan-tang. The prosecution is represented by Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Anthony Chau Tin-hang, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Ivan Cheung Cheuk-kan, and Senior Public Prosecutor Crystal Chan Wing-sum. Jimmy Lai is represented by Senior Counsel Robert Pang Yiu-hung, barrister Steven Kwan, and Marc Corlett, a New Zealand barrister with Hong Kong practicing qualifications.

16:20 Adjournment
15:52 Li Agrees Not All Actions Were Shared with Chan Tsz-wah

The defense further questioned the background of Chan Tsz-wah. Li confirmed that he and Chan had the same goals, but their roles were different; Chan was on the front line, while Li was in logistics. The defense pointed out that Li didn’t need to inform Chan about all matters related to supporting democracy. Li agreed.

The defense asked if this included not informing Chan about IPAC matters. Li stated that IPAC required confidentiality before its launch, so he didn’t share IPAC matters with Chan, reiterating that “not all activities were discussed with T (Chan Tsz-wah).”

15:28 Li: SWHK Has No Leadership Structure; Everyone Can Only Discuss and Share Opinions

Li stated that different SWHK members, “whether it’s a username or a real person, will express different opinions.” The defense asked if SWHK has a leadership structure. Li said no, “but over time, some more active members… have their opinions in different events.”

The defense asked if members could choose not to participate in an activity if they disagree. Li agreed, “or they can raise their objections” and persuade other members not to participate. The defense further asked if Li couldn’t dictate what other members do and vice versa. Li agreed, “I can’t dictate; I can only discuss with everyone.”

Regarding Li’s earlier testimony that the British Consul-General in Hong Kong, Andrew Heyn, invited Anson Chan, Charles Mok, and Andy Li to meet and exchange views of the “old, middle, and young” generations of democrats, representing the younger generation, the defense asked if SWHK is part of the younger generation. Prosecutor Anthony Chau Tin-hang expressed concern that the witness might not be able to answer this question.

The defense rephrased the question, asking if, to Li’s understanding, the SWHK members he knows are part of the younger generation. Li answered, “Based on the approximate ages of those I know, they are indeed part of the younger generation, excuse me, most of them are.” As for those he only knows by their usernames, Li can understand they are part of the younger generation based on their way of speaking and perspectives.

Justice Alex Lee Wan-tang pointed out that this might only represent that these individuals have a youthful mindset, to which Andy Li agreed. Justice Susana Maria D’Almada Remedios asked for Li’s year of birth, and Li said 1990. Justice Lee further asked which members are considered young. Li mentioned “Lam Chau” Finn Lau, “If T (Chan Tsz-wah) is counted as part of SWHK, he is also young,” and added, “He is even younger than me.”

Justice Remedios asked if only those born after 1990 are considered young. Li said there is no definition, it’s about feeling young. The defense continued to ask if Li counted Chan Tsz-wah as part of SWHK. Li reiterated that the prerequisite for identity is the person’s mindset, and he does not know if Chan considers himself an SWHK member.

15:12 Li Agrees SWHK is a Loosely Organized “Grassroots Crowdfunding Advocacy Group”

The defense questioned the structure of SWHK, pointing out that SWHK is a loose organization without a constitution. Li said, “It is a loose association without articles, and the common ground among its members is the desire to fight for freedom and democracy for Hong Kong.”

The defense showed a TG message mentioning, “I can count at least 4 different definitions for ‘Lam Chau Team,’ all of which are reasonable and could lead to a situation where someone can prove I am both part of it and not… SWHK itself has even more definitions, just counting swhk jp swhk global swhk original swhk uk there are already 4.”

The defense asked, “What is ‘SWHK Original’?” Li said it was a concept that emerged during the second “JD” crowdfunding campaign for advertising, “where a vote was needed to choose who would take credit or responsibility for the action.” Justice Alex Lee Wan-tang inquired about the context of the message. Li said, “I was talking to myself,” to “take note or save the message I wanted to save at that time.” Justice Lee followed up, asking if the message was for his personal record. Li agreed.

The defense asked, “What is the difference between ‘SWHK Original’ and ‘SWHK JP’?” Li explained that SWHK is not a formal organization, “so different people, if they identify with a certain identity, like SWHK or SWHK JP, it’s up to them to ‘identify with this label.'”

Li continued, “In an activity, some people might identify with a certain identity to participate in an activity, for example, a member might say, ‘For tomorrow’s activity in Japan, I am participating as a member of Act With HK, or let’s say, as a member of SWHK.'” Justice Lee asked if members could choose their identity as they wished. Li agreed, adding that it was a “decentralized movement.”

The defense asked if Li could describe this as a “grassroots crowdfunded advocacy group.” Li agreed. Justice Lee then asked, given that Li had 3 million dollars in his 20s, if he could describe himself as “grassroots.” Li answered, “I haven’t thought about that question.”

14:52 Li Confirms Seeking Mark Simon as a Volunteer to Receive Crowdfunding Funds

Regarding the “G Lam” crowdfunding, Li previously claimed that they needed to find a “wealthy person” in the United States to help receive a total of 1.8 million US dollars. The defense presented an email mentioning “Chin-One,” and Li confirmed that “Chin-One” is “Wealthy Person No. 1,” but he does not know if that is their real name.

The email showed that Li arranged for another volunteer to receive the funds, and the defense asked if this referred to Mark Simon. Li said, “Ultimately, this is referring to Mark Simon, but at the time of this email, it referred to any volunteer that I passed on to T (Chan Tsz-wah) to arrange.” The defense pointed out that the email mentioned “Kennis Ko,” and asked if they were one of the recipients. Li confirmed that “Kennis Ko” was considered as a recipient at that time.

The email also mentioned that “Surely” wanted to receive the funds in the form of a fund, and Li said that “Surely” is Shirley Ho, a theoretical astrophysicist and a member of SWHK, based in the United States.

14:32 Defense Questions About Crowdfunding Activities

The defense once again presented an email sent by Andy Li to “” on June 26, 2020, regarding a request for a “transitional loan.” The defense also showed an email sent by Li to “” the following day, noting that the attachment names of the two emails were different, and some words in the content were also different. Li confirmed that he sent the two emails mentioned above.

The defense continued to question about crowdfunding activities, pointing out that Li had previously confirmed that “Funder 2” in the third “G Lam” crowdfunding campaign was a person from Chan Tsz-wah’s side. So, was “Funder 2” in the “G Lam” campaign the same as “Funder 2” in the second “JD crowdfunding” campaign? Li said, “Definitely not the same person, because T (Chan Tsz-wah) was not involved in the JD campaign.”

The defense further asked if “Funder 2” was in the UK at that time because the target of the “JD crowdfunding” was in the UK? Li replied, “It should be said that Funder 2 claimed the money used in the UK, but I don’t know if Funder 2 was actually in the UK.” The defense presented a wire transfer confirmation issued on August 12, 2019, showing the payee as “SWC Chan,” and Li confirmed that “SWC Chan” was “Funder 2.”

12:54 Lunch Break

12:12 Andy Li: Mark Simon’s Transfer was Actually Funds from a Trust

The defense presented the financial statement for the third crowdfunding campaign “G20 x Lam Chau,” and Li agreed that all transitional loans were eventually returned. According to Li’s earlier testimony, the “G Lam” crowdfunding campaign used Mark Simon’s account to receive funds, which were then transferred to the American trust fund “The Project Hong Kong Trust.” The trust fund managed the funds and used them to pay for the advertisement fees.

The defense pointed out that since September 30, 2019, when the crowdfunding platform transferred the funds to Mark Simon, Li had not received any funds from “The Project Hong Kong Trust,” except for a transfer of 500,000 Hong Kong dollars from Mark Simon to him on November 21. Reviewing Li’s earlier testimony, he mentioned that the 500,000 dollars were used to cover the expenses of the district council election observation team.

The defense suggested that the 500,000 dollars were not Mark Simon’s money but came from the trust fund. Li agreed. The defense further asked if Li had received any funds from Jimmy Lai since September 30, 2019, including from his companies “Lais Hotel,” “Dico,” and a Taiwanese company “Chartwell Holding Limited.” Li denied receiving any funds from these sources.

The defense also asked if SWHK (Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong) had received any funds from Mark Simon and Jimmy Lai after September 30, 2019. Li confirmed they had not.

11:50 Andy Li Confirms the Need for a “Bridging Loan” During Crowdfunding for Advertisement

The defense further questioned the crowdfunding campaign, asking what the purpose of the “G20” crowdfunding was. Li said it was for advertising and “to raise awareness on Hong Kong after the advertising campaign.” The defense asked if Li needed a “bridging loan” to place the advertisements before receiving the crowdfunding funds. Li replied, “That just appeared when I used up all my savings.” The defense continued, asking if Li eventually received the funds for the advertisement from a transitional loan. Li said, “You can understand it that way,” agreeing that he eventually repaid the loan.

The defense presented an email sent on June 26, 2020, from “Freedom HKer” to “” (with a copy to, titled “Regarding G20 Advertising Movement.” The email mentioned that the sender was Andy Li, who was conducting a crowdfunding campaign for advertising, but could not immediately access the funds due to the crowdfunding platform’s policies. He stated that he had used up his savings to cover the advertising costs but still lacked sufficient funds, so he requested a bridging loan from the recipient.

Judge Esther Toh Lye-ping asked who the recipient was. Li recalled that he had asked Chan Tsz-wah to find someone to help cover the advertising costs, “So he said you draft an email, which is the email we see now,” to the above recipient. The CC recipient was an email address given to him by Chan Tsz-wah, “So it’s T’s (Chan Tsz-wah’s) person,” hence he believes the recipient is related to Chan Tsz-wah.

Judge Susana Maria D’Almada Remedios noted that Li had mentioned during the prosecution’s questioning that “” was Mark Simon’s email. Li explained that he saw it in an email related to Mark Simon, “I speculate that it might be Mark Simon’s email.”

11:32 Andy Li: Messages with Mark Simon Were Only About Arranging Meeting with U.S. Senator

The defense presented WhatsApp groups “Coffee on Sunday” and “HK Sunday meeting,” and Li agreed that both groups included him and Mark Simon, with content related to a meeting with U.S. Senator Rick Scott. The defense asked if, apart from the aforementioned groups, Li had no other WhatsApp contact with Mark Simon. Li agreed and stated that there had been no contact with Simon after the implementation of the National Security Law.

Regarding the “Coffee on Sunday” group, the defense noted that the group’s content only mentioned arrangements for meeting Rick Scott. Li described the content of this group as “summarizing the logistics, participants, and topics for the meeting with Rick Scott.” For the “HK Sunday meeting” group, Li stated, “I agree that this time it was just logistics.”

The defense asked if, during discussions with Mark Simon, there was no mention of sanctions, blockades against others, or stopping mutual legal assistance. Li agreed. The defense further asked if Mark Simon had given any instructions beyond arranging the meeting. Li observed that, based on the messages, Simon provided background on Rick Scott in the group and added, “I agree that in the group, Mark Simon’s remarks were about logistics and some suggestions, but not instructions.”

The defense inquired about the purpose of Li’s meeting with another protester, Cath, and Rick Scott. Li expressed the hope that the U.S. side would “do something,” but he couldn’t specify what exactly he wanted them to do. The defense asked if Li had made any specific requests or actions to the U.S. Li agreed that he had not and confirmed that the conversation that day revolved around him, Cath, and Rick Scott. Judge Alex Lee Wan-tang asked if Mark Simon had spoken much during the meeting. Li agreed that he had not.

11:21 Andy Li Confirms Under Cross-Examination That He Has Never Met Jimmy Lai
During cross-examination by the defense, led by New Zealand Queen’s Counsel Marc Corlett, who is qualified to practice in Hong Kong, Andy Li confirmed that he had never met Jimmy Lai in any form, including phone calls, online meetings, or other methods. He stated that he had never communicated with Lai, even before and after the implementation of the National Security Law on July 1, 2020. Regarding Mark Simon, the defense mentioned that Li had only met him once during a meeting with U.S. Senator Rick Scott on September 29, 2019. Li agreed that he had no phone contact with Simon but was unsure if Simon had appeared in any email thread related to handling funds with Chan Tsz-wah and Mark Simon.

11:15 Prosecution Completes Questioning of Andy Li
On Tuesday, the prosecution presented messages from the “SWHK IPAC” Telegram group, where Li mentioned a list of disqualified Legislative Council election candidates, including Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, and Joshua Wong. Luke de Pulford, a member of the Conservative Party’s Human Rights Committee and a co-founder of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), issued a statement through IPAC regarding the postponement of the 2020 Legislative Council election, which Li uploaded to the IPAC website. On Wednesday, the prosecution further presented messages where Luke de Pulford asked Andy Li to upload content to the IPAC website, saying “Andy pls get this up on the IPAC site – going live shortly.” Andy Li confirmed on Wednesday that he had uploaded the relevant statement to the IPAC website.

The prosecution stated that they had completed their questioning of Andy Li.

11:10 Court in Session

The Witness

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