Hong Kong’s government has told HKFP that police will “track down” fugitive offenders, a day after ex-lawmaker Ted Hui – who jumped bail and fled to Europe last December – announced his arrival in Australia on Tuesday.
The Security Bureau said on Wednesday that the government “strongly condemned” any attempt seeking to evade legal liabilities. Without naming Hui, the bureau warned that the Hong Kong police will “pursue” offenders who absconded and hold them criminally responsible.
“[P]olice will track down the whereabouts of the fugitive offenders through various means in accordance with the law and pursue them,” a spokesman for the bureau told HKFP.
The former Democratic Party politician has quit Britain for Australia in what he described as an attempt to expand international lobbying efforts. The 38-year-old and his family were in exile in the UK for three months, after he first went to Denmark on November 30, 2020 for an “official visit,” supposedly for a climate change conference.
A Danish politician later revealed the meeting was faked in order to convince Hong Kong’s courts to grant permission for the democrat to leave the city. Hui was on bail pending trial over multiple criminal charges – some related to the 2019 anti-extradition bill protests.
The fugitive activist told HKFP on Tuesday that the Australian government granted him and his family visitor visas and exempted them from Covid-19 border restrictions for “family reasons.” He refused to specify his location citing “safety reasons,” but said he has not sought political asylum.
Without referring to the Australian authorities, the Security Bureau told HKFP: “We strongly object to jurisdictions harbouring criminal fugitives.”
Australia is among a list countries that suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in response to concerns over the Beijing-imposed national security law. The controversial legislation – often described as “draconian” by its critics – targets secession, subversion, collusion with foreign powers and terrorist acts.
In early January, the Department of Justice told the Legislative Council that police would hunt down Hui, who jumped bail. They criticised Hui’s effort to flee from the city as “shameful,” saying the democrat had, by fabricating false reasons and lying to the court, “add[ed] to the severity of his crime.”
“Escaping from court trial by jumping bail and running away after breaking the law, and using such self-deluding excuse of the so-called ‘going into exile’ to shift his responsibility and deceive others, are shameful and hypocritical acts of a coward,” the DoJ said.