A court has extended bail for a Hong Kong democratic politician accused of rioting but banned him from leaving the city after prosecutors raised fears he might abscond, citing the case of now-exiled former lawmaker Ted Hui.
Former lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting was charged with rioting over a mob attack at Yuen Long MTR station in July last year. In August he had been granted bail and given permission to leave Hong Kong if necessary to fulfil his duties as a legislative councillor. On Monday he was ordered to surrender his passport.
Prosecutors cited Hui’s situation without mentioning his name and and said the possibility of Lam absconding had increased. They said that since “someone” had recently used his status as a district councillor to conspire with people overseas and escape on the pretext of an official visit, Lam might do the same.
Hui announced that he was going into exile in early December, after leaving Hong Kong while on bail apparently to attend a climate change conference in Denmark. Among several other charges Hui was facing several charges relating to a protest in Tuen Mun Park in July 2019. Lam was also charged in the same protest.
Principal magistrate Peter Law said that given high-profile remarks about a successful escape and overseas offers of help, the incentives to abscond were greater.
Lam told reporters outside the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court he had expected the change in his bail conditions. He added that he would fight till the end and not go into exile over the “slanderous” charge.
Lam was among 45 people injured in the incident on July 21, 2019, where more than 100 rod-wielding men clad in white – some with connections to triads – attacked civilians and journalists along with some protesters inside and around Yuen Long’s MTR station.
Police were widely critised for their delayed response to the violence.
Lam will appear in District Court on January 5 next year.