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Hong Kong courts

Hong Kong court denies bail for Indian-born man wanted overseas for jailbreaking and terrorism links

Strong security measures in place as Ramanjit Singh, 29, who was arrested for multimillion-dollar robbery, appears at Kowloon City Court

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 11:20am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2018, 11:34pm

An Indian-born Hong Kong resident wanted by Interpol for his alleged links to terrorism, political killings and a prison break in his native home, will remain in jail after a local court refused to grant him bail on Friday as he faced a separate charge over a multimillion-dollar robbery allegedly committed in the city.

Under beefed up security, Ramanjit Singh, 29, was taken to Kowloon City Court for the first time since his status as a wanted person was revealed by the media.

The man, also known as Romi, was clad in a brown leather jacket during his brief appearance in the dock. 

He nodded and placed his hands together while smiling and glancing at the gallery from time to time, as a Punjabi interpreter translated the court proceedings for him.

Despite his case being in its initial stages, arrangements were made for the hearing to be held in a different court from the usual one that deals mainly with preliminary matters. 

Singh made his first court appearance a week ago, when he was taken to the same court to face a robbery charge. He is one of five accused of robbing two people in Tsim Sha Tsui, a busy district in Hong Kong, of more than 450 million Japanese yen (HK$32.6 million) on February 9 this year.

Indian-born alleged jailbreaker and terrorism funder ‘Romi’ in custody over Hong Kong robbery

At the time of the first hearing, the allegations against Singh in India were not yet known to the Hong Kong authorities or the public, until they were revealed in the Post’s reports.

Singh, who also goes by a Chinese name, 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.

He has been remanded at the Lai Chi Kok reception centre since last week, prompting him to ask the court to review his bail on Friday.

The Post has learned that security at the facility, which also houses defendants denied bail, was strengthened after the authorities came to know of the allegations Singh faced abroad.

The prison van that took him to the court on Friday was accompanied by a fleet of police vehicles. About 20 heavily armed officers were deployed for Singh’s escort, the Post was told, with both uniformed and plain-clothes police stationed inside and outside the court. 

Several officers were seen carrying MP5 submachine guns.

Security at Hong Kong prison raised to maximum for Indian-born alleged jailbreaker and terrorism funder ‘Romi’

Rifle-wielding officers wearing helmets and bulletproof vests stood guard outside the building, while more police stood by at sensitive locations, such as footbridges, along the route.

Heightened security measures were put in place on the seventh floor outside Court Five, where Singh appeared.

A checkpoint was set up for anyone entering the vicinity, including some of the 50 police officers, security guards and staff, with handheld metal detectors out in force. 

Some were asked to take off their jackets during the check, while a police dog was on standby to look out for explosives. Senior superintendents were also present.

Police officers at the lift lobby asked all reporters from more than a dozen media outlets to leave the name of their publication on a list.

Singh can apply for another bail hearing on March 10 at the same court, or apply directly to the Court of First Instance, a higher court.