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‘Not even a nuclear explosion could set us apart’: Hong Kong couple wed days after being charged with rioting

Once Henry Tong and Elaine To decided to get married, the result was never in doubt.

“I never thought we couldn’t get married. Even if there was a nuclear explosion, I would still marry her,” Tong said.

elaine to henry tong wedding

Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Tong, 38, exchanged vows with To, 41, at the Cotton Tree Drive Marriage Registry on Sunday, before dozens of friends, family and well-wishers.

The couple were arrested on July 28 when riot police cracked down on protesters in Sheung Wan. The gym owners were subsequently charged with rioting along with 42 others. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

elaine to henry tong wedding

Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

After appearing in court on Wednesday, the defendants were released on bail awaiting a hearing in September. The couple’s application for a honeymoon abroad was denied.

elaine to henry tong wedding

Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

“In these uncertain days, I thank you all for sticking with us,” Tong told his guests at the wedding ceremony in Admiralty. “The first thing you asked me was ‘are you okay,’ and not accusations of what I might have done.”

elaine to henry tong wedding

Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Tong and To run a private gym together, and the bride said they started dating nearly five years ago.

“We’ve known each other for many years, but we formally started dating in September 2014,” To said. “You can guess where we were.”

elaine to henry tong wedding

Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

“Today I finally became Mrs. Tong. Even though there were some bumps in the road, I believe I’ll find joy and fulfilment in the days ahead.”

elaine to henry tong wedding

Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Tong said he was lucky to find someone who shared his values. “It’s not easy to find someone in life with the same ideals, values, and who is willing to come and go together with you… not even a nuclear explosion could set us apart.”

elaine to henry tong wedding

Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

“When I first met her, I was at a low point in my life. She was never bothered by that, and helped me move out of it,” he added. “[What I face today] doesn’t feel like a low point at all.”

elaine to henry tong wedding

Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

To said that the couple will have a day off on Monday – which coincided with a planned general strike.

“We’re a bit tired after this week, so we’ll have a day of rest tomorrow,” she said to cheers and applause. “Rest a bit, then add oil afterwards.”

elaine to henry tong wedding

Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Tong said his beliefs remained the same despite recent developments, telling his guests: “Even in stormy times, my wife and I never imagined leaving any of you behind.”

'Not even a nuclear explosion could set us apart': Hong Kong couple wed days after being charged with rioting