Hong Kong courts

India asks Hong Kong to hand over Ramanjit ‘Romi’ Singh, accused of terrorism, political killings and organising a prison break

Government lawyers ask court for three-week adjournment, to get city leader’s permission to proceed

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 August, 2018, 12:36pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 August, 2018, 10:20pm

The Indian government has formally applied for the extradition of a Hong Kong resident wanted by Interpol for his alleged links to terrorism, political killings and a prison break in his native country.

A Hong Kong government lawyer on Thursday revealed a formal request arrived a day earlier seeking the surrender of Indian-born Ramanjit Singh, 29. She asked a court for three more weeks to allow the Department of Justice to get Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s authority to proceed.

While defence counsel Elizabeth Herbert did not object to the adjournment, she asked the court to fix a reasonable time period to get that authority or release the defendant, in accordance with Section 10 of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance.

“[Singh] will not consent to his surrender,” Herbert said. “In three weeks if we do not have the authority to proceed, the defendant should be discharged. This has been going on and on. First he was remanded for a case in which charges have been dropped. He’s been going through considerable hardship in custody.”

Eastern Court Principal Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen replied that the defence application would be heard at the next hearing on September 13.

The Indian government served a provisional warrant for Singh’s arrest before Hong Kong prosecutors on June 26 dropped a robbery charge against him, over a heist involving more than 450 million Japanese yen (HK$32.6 million) in Tsim Sha Tsui on February 9 this year.

Senior government counsel Dora Si Yuk-fung said the department received the formal request for Singh’s surrender, together with the supporting documents and exhibits, in envelopes sealed by the Indian government, on Wednesday afternoon.

She was granted leave on Thursday to break open the sealed envelopes to remove their contents and make copies to work on the documents.

Singh, also known as “Romi”, was first brought to court in February, when he was remanded in custody, soon before the Post reported that he was an alleged fugitive on an international wanted list for the allegations the Indian authorities had made against him.

He is accused of “conspiring in, abetting, advising and facilitating terrorist activities”, raising funds for terrorism, preparing an act of terror, and membership of a terrorist group, according to a notice issued by Interpol. He is also accused of attempted murder, robbery and breaking prisoners out of jail in the Indian city of Nabha in the state of Punjab.

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Si previously revealed Singh’s alleged offences in India included aiding and abetting others to escape jail custody and conspiring with others to assist escape from jail custody. He is also accused of possessing a firearm and funding potential terrorist activities.

His court appearances sparked intense security measures after the allegations abroad surfaced, with a fleet of heavily armed police vehicles escorting him from jail custody every time he turned up in the dock.

Singh will appear at District Court next Thursday to hear the verdict on a separate trial for allegedly handling stolen goods.