A Hong Kong court has found former pro-democracy lawmaker Ted Hui guilty in his absence of four counts of contempt of court after he fled overseas while on bail with the help of an invitation from Danish politicians to a fake conference there.
Judge Andrew Chan handed down his judgement at the High Court on Thursday morning. Hui, who is now in Australia, was not represented in court.
The democrat was accused of misleading police and the court into believing that he would return to the city after a purported duty visit to Denmark on November 30, 2020. He was on bail and facing nine pending criminal charges when he flew out of Hong Kong.
Two judges gave Hui permission to travel overseas while on bail to perform his official duties. This enabled him to leave the city on the pretext of attending climate change meetings in Denmark.
Authorities later said Hui enlisted the help of Danish legislators to draft a bogus itinerary and invitation letter to facilitate his flight
Hui announced on his Facebook four days later that he would go into exile. He travelled to the UK after Denmark and has since relocated to Australia. His immediate family members also left the city while Hui was on his Denmark trip.
Apart from contempt of court, since his departure Hui has also been accused of secession and collusion with foreign forces under the national security law, as well as inciting Hongkongers to boycott the 2021 legislature election.
Chan said in his judgement that Facebook posts published by Danish politician Anders Storgaard “confirmed the so called duty visit was of nothing other than a smokescreen.”
The judge ruled that Hui had colluded with people in Denmark – including Storgaard – in orchestrating his departure and it was a “premeditated attempt to flee the jurisdiction.”
In addition, Chan said Hui’s failure to appear in court had “inevitably caused delay and disruption to the court proceedings,” while his deception and secret departure posed “a real risk that public confidence in the due administration of justice will be undermined.”
The court has yet to announce when Hui will be sentenced.
In response to the court’s judgement, Hui told HKFP that the case was a “political prosecution” and it reflected the Hong Kong government’s “expansion of its heavy-handed impositions to suppress advocate’s voices overseas.”
“Any criminal charges and sentences filed or imposed against me by the regime does not take away my freedom to advocacy [on] the international political stage,” the self-exiled democrat added.
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