Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Who is Ted Hui? Hong Kong lawmaker arrested for snatching woman’s phone revealed to be family man who blogs about parenting

‘His methods are controversial, but he did not act for his own benefit,’ says Democratic Party colleague Roy Kwong of lawmaker taken in by police on Saturday on suspicion of common assault and dishonest use of computer

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 May, 2018, 7:57pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 May, 2018, 1:34am

A Hong Kong lawmaker arrested for snatching a woman’s phone is a family man who writes a parenting blog in his spare time, one of his party colleagues has revealed.

Democratic Party’s Roy Kwong Chun-yu, who offered immediate support to Ted Hui Chi-fung, said: “His methods are controversial, but he did not act for his own benefit. He may have done wrong, but he is still a friend.”

Hui was taken in by police on Saturday on suspicion of common assault and dishonest use of a computer, after he took a phone from a female government official and ran into a men’s toilet at the Legislative Council on April 24.

Later in the evening, police said two more offences, obstructing a public officer in the execution of duty and criminal damage, may also be considered. Hui was then released on bail just after midnight.

Another party colleague, James To Kun-sun, said the 36-year-old should be able to resume his duties after release, as Hui’s act did not warrant a ban from attending Legco meetings.

According to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, a lawmaker can be removed from office if sentenced to more than one month in prison and following a motion passed by two-thirds of lawmakers present at a council meeting.

The six potential criminal offences by Hong Kong lawmaker who snatched woman official’s phone

Hui’s party membership was suspended last week.

Former Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing, who had earlier called for Hui’s resignation, refused to comment on his arrest.

“I hope all investigations will be fair and just,” Lau said.

Saturday’s arrest was not Hui’s first brush with the law. In 2014, Hui was accused of injuring two security guards during a scuffle at a Central and Western District Council meeting.

At the time, he was protesting against a bill that would grant pro-Beijing groups in the district HK$250,000 (US$31,800) to promote the Basic Law.

Phone-snatch lawmaker Ted Hui should have resigned to keep his dignity

A court subsequently cleared him of two charges of common assault in 2015 and Hui signed a good behaviour bond.

Hui is regarded as a radical, younger member of the Democratic Party, which is seen as a more moderate voice in the opposition camp.

He joined the party while still studying for his law degree at City University in the early 2000s. He ran for a district council seat in Tuen Mun in 2007, but was defeated by pro-establishment candidate To Sheck-yuen.

Hui later succeeded in the 2011 district council election, winning the Chung Wan constituency in the Central and Western district council. He was elected a lawmaker in the Hong Kong Island constituency in 2016.

Hui has been vocal on environmental issues and active during the debate over the controversial joint-checkpoint arrangement that will allow mainland Chinese officers to be stationed in the Hong Kong terminus of a cross-border high-speed rail link.

Legco President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen has ordered Hui to leave the chamber on multiple occasions. During a meeting in November 2016, Hui was ejected after Leung refused a motion to discuss Beijing’s interpretation of Basic Law Article 104, which paved the way for the disqualification of six lawmakers for not taking their oaths properly.

In November, Hui was told to leave after disrupting a meeting, but other pro-democracy lawmakers prevented guards from reaching him.

Most recently, in December, he locked a personal attack alarm in a drawer in the council chamber.

His parenting blog revealed Hui does not employ a domestic helper, drives his two children to school, and advocates breastfeeding.

From snatching a cell to being in one – how Ted Hui’s arrest unfolded

April 24, 2018

As a Legislative Council committee debates stationing mainland Chinese officers in the Hong Kong terminus of a cross-border high-speed rail link, lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung snatches a mobile phone from a female Security Bureau civil servant. He runs into a men’s toilet before handing the device to another government official 10 minutes later.

April 25

Government officials, including Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung and security minister John Lee Ka-chiu, criticise Hui’s actions as “violent” and “barbaric”.

Hui apologises but says his aim was to expose the government’s breach of privacy laws by recording lawmakers’ whereabouts.

Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai apologises and says the party’s disciplinary panel will investigate.

The civil servant makes a report to police and seven officers go to the Legco complex to gather evidence.

April 26

Hui issues an open letter and a second apology.

The Legco Commission watches footage of the encounter and issues a “strong” condemnation letter to Hui.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor condemns the incident.

The Democratic Party suspends Hui’s membership indefinitely, saying he was “seriously tarnishing the party’s reputation”.

April 27

New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee writes to Legco’s House Committee, asking for a debate on a motion to censure Hui.

April 28

Cheung says he has written to Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, expressing hope civil servants are properly protected while carrying out their duties in the building.

May 2

Ten officers from the Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau go to the Legco complex for a second time.

May 4

Legco’s House Committee discusses the censure motion proposed by Ip, who will raise the motion officially at a full council meeting on May 23.

A day after Hui reports the incident to the privacy watchdog, Privacy Commissioner Stephen Wong Kai-yi says monitoring lawmakers’ whereabouts does not constitute unfair or unlawful collection of personal data.

May 5

Police arrest Hui in Tuen Mun for common assault and gaining access to a computer with criminal or dishonest intent. Police say two more offences, obstructing a public officer in the execution of duty and criminal damage, may also be considered. Hui is later released on bail.

Additional reporting by Christy Leung and Alvin Lum