Hong Kong Pro-democracy Civic Passion activist detained for 80 hours, court hears

By Chris Lau
South China Morning Post

Police detained him illegally to punish him for his non-cooperative attitude, lawyers says

A Hong Kong judge has questioned why a member of a pro-democracy group was detained for nearly 80 hours as part of an investigation into an attempt to break into the city’s parliament building last week.

Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai asked prosecutors why Cheung Ka-hin, 40, who was arrested in the early hours of Friday, was not brought to court until Monday morning.

“The matter should be explored,” Chainrai told the court.

Cheung, also known by the nickname “French Guy”, is a member of the Civic Passion group.

He is accused of damaging doors and glass walls in the Legislative Council complex in Admiralty last Wednesday, along with other people. He faces one count of criminal damage.

Prosecutor Vincent Siu told Chainrai that Cheung was formally charged at about 8pm on Saturday, too late for him to be brought to court that day.

Richard Yip, Cheung’s counsel, said his client had overheard a police sergeant say on Saturday: “He is being uncooperative. If so, 48 hours will be used to entertain [him].”

“The complaint [my client would like to make] is that police detained him to punish him for his non-cooperative attitude,” Yip said.

Yip also said Cheung, a driving instructor, urgently needed his car back. It was seized by police.

The prosecutor said police found traces of glass, goggles and a yellow t-shirt in the seized car, items they believed were connected to the alleged offence. Police are still investigating the car, Siu said.

Chainrai said that since Cheung’s car had not been listed as a court exhibit, she had no authority to give directions to police about it.

Outside the court, the defendant joined other Civic Passion members chanting slogans before the group’s leader Wong Yeung-tat escorted him away.

Although granted bail, Cheung is barred from coming within 300 metres of the Legco complex. The case is adjourned to January 19.

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