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Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Lawmaker Ted Hui charged over phone-snatching incident in Hong Kong Legislative Council in May

Democratic Party member set to answer for offences including common assault, dishonest access to a computer and obstructing a public officer

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2018, 2:32pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 October, 2018, 11:32pm

Hong Kong opposition lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung was charged on Tuesday with three offences including common assault, dishonest access to a computer and obstructing a public officer in the execution of her duty over a phone-snatching incident in the legislature.

The Democratic Party member, who was on bail following his arrest in May, was notified of the development as he reported to police this morning.

He is set to answer charges in Eastern Court next Tuesday.

Hui, 36, snatched a phone from a female civil servant at the Legislative Council on April 24.

He then apologised to the woman and the public.

Writing on his Facebook page about the charges, a defiant Hui on Tuesday noted he had taken the case to the Administrative Appeals Board, an independent statutory body that hears arguments against administrative decisions.

The lawmaker said his appeal against the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data would commence next year, and was financially supported by his party.

What I personally face is really insignificant compared with the case’s significance to the public
Ted Hui, lawmaker

“There are no democratic countries or regions in the world where the government is allowed to send officials to monitor and intervene in the legislature,” Hui wrote, adding that the cases involved Legco’s constitutional role as well as restrictions imposed on government officers in performing duties.

In response to Hui’s earlier complaint, the privacy commissioner issued a statement saying the civil servants working in Legco had not violated the privacy ordinance and that the government had a “legitimate purpose in collecting lawmakers’ personal information”.

In April, the Democratic Party suspended Hui’s membership, and an internal disciplinary hearing it carried out was halted because of a lack of information.

On Tuesday, party chairman Wu Chi-wai said its hearing would resume as further information was disclosed to the court.

“The Democratic Party treats disciplinary matters involving our members very seriously,” Wu said. “We won’t tolerate double standards.”

Hui wrote on Tuesday: “What I personally face is really insignificant compared with the case’s significance to the public. I will also be accountable to the public for the improper handling of the incident.”

Any person convicted of common assault is liable to up to one year in jail, while access to a computer “with criminal or dishonest intent” carries a possible sentence of five years.  

According to Article 79 of the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution, if a lawmaker is convicted and sentenced to jail for one month or more for a criminal offence committed within or outside the city, he or she can be relieved of their duties should two-thirds of lawmakers support the move.

Additional reporting by Christy Leung