TWO police officers appeared in court yesterday facing a joint charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice by forging the signature of a suspected murderer who later died in custody. Sergeant Chong Kwok-wah, 45, and constable Wong Sek-wah, 33, were alleged to have conspired to forge the signature of Lam Tin-ming during a police interview recorded last year, Fanling Court heard. Lam, 56, collapsed and died while being interrogated by police about a string of strangulations of elderly victims. The document was recorded inside the Crime New Territories Regional Headquarters between Lam and Wong in the presence of Chong and they falsely represented that Lam had signed it, it was claimed. No plea was entered. Magistrate Bina Chainrai was told the officers were attached to Regional Crime Unit, New Territories South. Albert Poon, representing both defendants, made an application to allow Chong to leave Hong Kong from February 9 to 11. Mr Poon told the court Chong had to claim ownership of ancestral property in Shenzhen. He added that Chong had already received permission from the Police Commissioner. The magistrate allowed the application and ordered Chong to return his travel document on February 12. She also extended both defendants' bail and ordered them not to leave Hong Kong for any other reason. The magistrate transferred the case to the District Court for plea on February 23.