Police will investigate anyone, regardless of nationality, who helps an offender to abscond from Hong Kong, the government has warned, after it was reported the city was looking into prosecuting two Danish politicians who aided former opposition lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung as he fled to Europe.
According to Danish reports, the government was also examining the possibility of extraditing politicians Uffe Elbæk and Katarina Ammitzbøll, as they had helped Hui head to Denmark at the end of November. There is no extradition agreement between Hong Kong and Denmark.
The incident, which has already provoked a strong response from Beijing, could trigger a diplomatic row between Denmark and China.
The Security Bureau in Hong Kong did not confirm the report, saying only that Hui, who had been prosecuted for various criminal offences, had openly jumped court bail and absconded.
An offender who fabricated false reasons and lied to the court in an attempt to abscond added to the severity of his crime, the bureau added.
“In light of the circumstances of each case, the police will track down the whereabouts of the fugitive offenders through various means in accordance with the law and pursue them,” the bureau told the Post.
“Wherever any person, regardless of his nationality, is suspected of having committed a crime in organising, planning or aiding the abscondence, or in such criminal conspiracy, the police will actively investigate and pursue their legal liabilities under the existing legal framework.”
Out on bail and facing a raft of criminal charges related to anti-government protests that broke out in 2019, the 38-year-old former lawmaker left Hong Kong for Denmark on November 30, ostensibly to attend climate change meetings in the capital Copenhagen.
Those meetings, however, were later revealed to have been a cover concocted by a Danish politician to help him secure court approval to leave the city while awaiting trial. After spending five days in the country, Hui announced his self-exile bid and flew to London.
He said he intended to resettle his family in Britain before making longer-term plans and made it clear he would not seek asylum anywhere.
Hui’s bank accounts were frozen as he was suspected of embezzling funds raised from online crowdfunding, and using the accounts of family members to deal with the money. Hong Kong police also said Hui was suspected of endangering national security by colluding with foreign forces.
The national security law also applies to offences committed against Hong Kong outside the city by a person who is not a permanent resident.
Beijing last month accused Danish politicians of harbouring criminals and meddling in China’s domestic affairs by supporting Hui.
“We oppose having any individual in any country interfering in Hong Kong’s matters and China’s domestic affairs in any way, and harbouring criminals,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
Hui faces nine charges including one count of being involved in an act intended to pervert the course of justice, as well as two counts of obtaining access to a computer with dishonest intent, and criminal damage over a protest in Tuen Mun.
He is also accused of two offences under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance – contempt and interference with the legislature’s officers – in relation to a tumultuous House Committee meeting on May 8 last year.