A Hong Kong magistrate on Friday revoked a decision to grant bail to former Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai after it was found he had failed to surrender a British passport despite a court order.

West Kowloon Court Magistrate Peter Law said Wu’s failure to hand in all of his travel documents as ordered by the court on December 17 showed there was an increased risk the former legislator would abscond. He is being held in Lai Chi Kok detention centre.

Wu Chi-wai
Wu Chi-wai (centre). Photo: GovHK.

The 58-year-old democrat had earlier been granted bail on charges linked to an alleged unauthorised assembly on July 1 last year. He handed in his HKSAR passport and Home Return Permit but retained a British National (Overseas) passport at home.

Wu’s possession of a BN(O) passport came to light when police arrested him and 52 others under the national security law in a mass raid early Wednesday. They are suspected of ‘subversion’ by organising or participating in an unofficial primary for democratic candidates for the now-postponed 2020 Legislative Council election.

The other 52 were released on bail. They have not yet been charged.

Police said the primary was part of a plan to win a majority in the legislature so opposition members could veto budget bills, with the ultimate goal of forcing the government into a shutdown.

At the hearing on Friday, Wu’s defence said he had no intention of absconding or leaving Hong Kong and had himself told police about the existence of the BN(O) passport. They urged the magistrate to enlarge his bail conditions, including requiring him to report to police daily, deposit a greater cash sum and observe a curfew.

October 1 Police purple flag causeway bay national security banner
Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

But Law said that if the court continued to grant bail to the ex-lawmaker, there was a “substantial” risk he would not turn up for upcoming hearings.

In addition to the alleged national security offence and July 1 protest charges, Wu also faces trial for a case linked to the chaotic scenes in a legislative meeting last May. He and seven other former pro-democracy lawmakers are accused of contempt and interference with LegCo officers under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance.

The prosecution said they may press additional charges against Wu. He will appear again in court on February 8.

Ted Hui, a former Democratic Party legislator, fled Hong Kong to the UK via Denmark last December while he was on bail. He faces multiple charges connected to a protest last July 6 at Tuen Mun park, as well as for the LegCo mayhem in May last year.

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Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.