Hong Kong’s Security Bureau has “strongly condemned” the decision by former opposition legislator Ted Hui to go into exile in Britain and fight for democracy from overseas rather than return to face nine criminal charges.
Hui, speaking during a visit he made while on bail to the Danish capital Copenhagen, on Thursday evening announced his decision to live in exile and withdraw from the Democratic Party.
“Everyone should be responsible for their own actions, including bearing legal liabilities,” the bureau told HKFP in a statement on Friday. “The SAR government strongly condemns any behaviour of absconding and evading legal liabilities,” it said, adding that relevant departments would take follow-up actions.
Hui faces nine separate charges relating to last year’s unrest and protests within the legislative chamber during his time as a lawmaker. He had been arrested twice under the Legislative (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance within the last month.
He told Danish media on Thursday that he could face life imprisonment and immediate arrest should he return to Hong Kong. Hui’s immediate family members have also reportedly left the city, according to HK01.
Hui was given permission to travel abroad while on bail after Danish politicians devised official documents inviting him to join a purported climate change conference there this week. One politician later told Danish media he had arranged fake meetings in order to secure Hui’s exit from Hong Kong.
Hours after he announced his exile on Thursday, Hui met Danish politician and former NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Hui had hours earlier vowed to continue fighting for democracy for Hong Kong “at the international frontline” in a statement on his Facebook page.
Hui is set to move to the UK with his family, according to a statement from the Democratic Party.
Hui was frequently seen on the frontlines during last year’s pro-democracy protests, during which he attempted to act as a mediator between police and protesters.
He stepped down from the legislature with the rest of the democratic camp in mid-November in solidarity with four disqualified colleagues. They were expelled following a decision by Beijing that allowed the government to oust lawmakers deemed to be “unpatriotic”.
In a statement to HKFP on Friday, the police said they would not comment on individual cases, but will use means available under the law to “track down fugitives and bring them to justice.”