A mainland businessman accused of 104 insider-trading offences in Australia yesterday urged a court to adjourn his extradition hearing to allow him to pursue a claim for asylum in Hong Kong.
Counsel for Xiao Hui, 39, told Eastern Court that the former executive with Sichuan Hanlong Group had filed a claim for asylum on February 28 to prevent his extradition to Australia or deportation to the mainland. The court earlier heard that it was "impossible" for Xiao to return to Australia as he and his family had been threatened.
Robert Tibbo, for Xiao, urged the court to delay the extradition hearing until Xiao received the result of his asylum application. He said that if Xiao was extradited, he would no longer be able to pursue his application and would therefore be denied his right to seek asylum.
"The jurisdiction can take into account [Xiao's situation] because there is no discretion to remove this person unless his asylum claim has failed," Tibbo said.
Tibbo did not disclose details of Xiao's personal circumstances to the court as they had to "remain confidential" and would be the "fundamental and core aspect" of his asylum bid.
Tibbo said the Department of Justice, which is pursuing the extradition application at the request of Australian prosecutors, was misleading in saying that an asylum application, including a judicial review application and court appeals, could take as long as three years to process.
He argued that the fact screening procedures took so long was not Xiao's fault. He cited statistics showing that 99 per cent of asylum applications did not lead to court appeals.
The case resumes before Magistrate Symon Wong Yu-wing on Thursday, when the Department of Justice will reply to Xiao's adjournment request.
Xiao was one of several Hanlong employees investigated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in relation to Hanlong's takeover bids for Sundance Resources and Bannerman Resources in 2011.
Xiao was allowed to leave Australia for Hong Kong in November that year, but failed to return. Australian authorities declared Xiao a fugitive. He was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport in January this year and has since been remanded in custody.
Calvin Zhu, a former colleague, was jailed for 27 months after admitting three counts of insider trading last year.