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‘Happy Father’s Day to our A+ dad’: Family honors ex-lawmaker Andrew Wan from outside jail walls

Father’s Day is often a time for a family get-together. This year, it is a stark reminder of painful separation for scores of Hongkongers who are held in custody awaiting trial under national security laws.

The Wans, a family of four, know this only too well. With the head of the household Andrew Wan in detention since early January, his wife, 16-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son can only tell him how much they love him by sending a Father’s Day card and letter in advance to the Lai Chi Kok detention center, in hopes that he would receive their wishes in time before Sunday.

“Happy Father’s Day, you are the best dad in my heart,” read the daughter’s message.

“Dad, you’re my role model. Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made … I love you! HAPPY FATHER’S DAY,” his son wrote.

In a phone interview with Apple Daily, Wan’s wife described him as “an A+ dad” and a family man who would always make time for his children.

She recalled that he would help buy groceries and cook for the family no matter how hectic things had gotten with work.

During anti-government protests in 2019, Wan, then a legislator, would always head to the front lines armed with a loudspeaker, undaunted in the face of tear gas and rubber bullets as police and protesters engaged in pitched battles, she said.

The former lawmaker is among 32 defendants remanded in custody, out of 47 who are waiting for trial on charges of subverting state power after participating in an unofficial primary of the democracy camp last summer. Wan and the other 31 have been locked up since the police’s mass arrests in early January.

Wan’s wife is grateful that her children have both stepped up to the plate since their father was apprehended, helping out with housework and providing emotional support.

She still tears up every time she reads Wan’s letters from behind bars, often filled with exhortations for his children to be “upright people who will live with a clear conscience.”

“You can tell that he really wants to fulfill his role as a father,” Wan’s wife said.

In a letter to her husband, she wrote: “I definitely cannot replace this one-of-a-kind fatherly role! The kids and I are waiting for the day when we can reunite. Until then, I will protect them and wait for your release — Mrs. Wan.”

Click here for Chinese version.

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