Hong Kong’s High Court has sentenced former pro-democracy lawmaker Ted Hui in absentia to three and a half years in prison for contempt of court after fleeing overseas while on bail. Hui, who is now in Australia, was not represented in court.

High Court
High Court. File photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Hui, who was found guilty of four counts of contempt of court in June, was sentenced by Judge Andrew Chan on Thursday morning.

Hui was given permission to travel overseas while on bail by two judges, enabling him to leave the city in November 2020 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

Chan on Thursday said the ex-lawmaker had “carefully orchestrated” his deception of the police and the court by providing them with false documents. Public confidence in the administration of justice had been “greatly undermined” as a result of Hui’s offences, he said.

“The Respondent’s actions not only made a mockery of the criminal justice system but also amounted to the commission of the offence of Perverting the Course of Public Justice,” Chan added.

After considering the seriousness of the case, the consequences of Hui’s evasion and its impact on the criminal justice system, past criminal contempt cases, and Hui showing “no remorse” after his conviction, Chan sentenced Hui to jail for three years and six months in his absence.

ted hui uk
Ted Hui leaves the UK for Australia. File photo: May James/HKFP.

Chan also demanded Hui pay for the costs of proceedings “on an indemnity basis.”

The prosecution said it would file a warrant of committal for the court to order Hui to serve his sentence.

After learning of his sentencing, Hui told HKFP that he “despised” the court’s decision.

“Let the Hong Kong courts sentence the air, and allow the world to see the madness and incompetence of Hong Kong’s authorities,” he said, adding that he would continue to openly hold the city’s judiciary in contempt and fight for Hongkongers’ freedoms.

Self-exiled democrat

Before Hui fled the city, he was on bail pending nine criminal charges. He told authorities he would return to Hong Kong after the purported duty visit to Denmark.

But days after he left the city on November 30, 2020, Hui announced that he would not return. He then travelled to the UK and has since relocated to Australia.

Since his departure, Hui has been slapped with additional charges of secession and collusion with foreign forces under the Beijing-imposed national security law, as well as those relating to allegedly inciting Hongkongers to boycott the 2021 legislature poll after the city’s election overhaul.

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Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.