A Hong Kong man accused of drug dealing and ordered to be remanded in custody has escaped from court after he allegedly swapped identity with another defendant who was granted bail.

West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts
West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts. File photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Police said in a Tuesday statement that they suspected a 37-year-old man with surname Chan had exchanged “identification documents” with a 24-year-old defendant surnamed Lam in the temporary holding cell at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Monday.

Chan was earlier charged over a drug trafficking case and was awaiting custody, while Lam had been granted bail after being charged with battery in a separate case, local media reported.

Police said Chan had posed as Lam and had been released on bail.

612 humanitarian relief fund
Police officers outside the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts. File photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

According to Tuesday’s police statement, the case was being handled by the Sham Shui Po regional anti-triad unit.

Lam was arrested later on Monday on suspicion of misleading officers.

The police also apprehended Chan’s 31-year-old wife for allegedly assisting an offender, as she was suspected of providing her husband with money after he fled the court.

Both have been remanded for police investigation.

“The Sham Shui Po Precinct is actively pursuing the male fugitive,” the police statement added.

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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.