“I hereby announce that I will go into exile and will withdraw my membership in the Democratic Party of Hong Kong to leave Hong Kong,” Ted Hui said in a statement to The Associated Press. “There is no word to explain my pain and it’s hard to hold back tears.”
It was not clear when he would travel to Britain which, in response to a crackdown on opposition in Hong Kong, has extended residency rights for up to 3 million Hong Kongers eligible for British National Overseas passports, allowing them to live and work there for five years.
“My personal determination is that my exile will not be a migration. My only home is Hong Kong which is why I will not apply for asylum in any country," Hui said. "I will wait for the day that I can go home with the bells of freedom ringing in a free Hong Kong. Until my last breath I will fight to the end. Revive Hong Kong, revolution now!”
In July, another democracy activist, Nathan Law, left Hong Kong after testifying in a U.S. congressional hearing about a tough new security law imposed by mainland China on the semi-autonomous territory. At first, he declined to disclose his whereabouts for safety but later appeared in London.
“I will continue to fight on aboard and will make it my life mission to widen Hong Kong’s international battle front with people like Nathan Law in the U.K.," Hui said.
Hui was arrested in Hong Kong in May over an incident in the Legislative Council in which he dropped a rotten plant and attempted to kick it at the body’s president. He was able to get his passport back from the government and a visa after receiving an invitation from Danish lawmakers to travel to Denmark, where he arrived Tuesday.
Since the start of anti-government protests in June 2019, Hong Kong police have made more than 10,000 arrests.
Prominent pro-democracy figures who have been arrested include activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, as well as media tycoon Jimmy Lai, an outspoken advocate for democracy.
Hui's parents, wife and two young children left Hong Kong on a flight on Wednesday, Hong Kong online news portal HK01 reported. It did not mention their destination.