Lawmaker in phone snatching case pleads not guilty

Ted Hui (second from left) speaks to the media following the phone snatching incident. Photo via Facebook.
Ted Hui (second from left) speaks to the media following the phone snatching incident. Photo via Facebook.

A pro-democracy lawmaker has pleaded not guilty to charges relating to an incident in April where he allegedly snatched a female bureaucrat’s cell phone in the Legislative Council.

Ted Hui was formally charged with common assault, accessing a computer with criminal or dishonest intent, and obstructing a public officer from performing official duties last week.

Ming Pao reports that the Democratic Party lawmaker pleaded not guilty to the charges at Eastern Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The prosecution told the court that they have obtained two records of a meeting between Hui and police totalling 213 minutes, 30-minute CCTV footage from LegCo, and two media interviews of Hui totalling 18 minutes.

The prosecution also told the court that 25 witnesses will be called to give testimony. The witness list is comprised mainly of lawmakers, but also includes a forensics expert, and Leung Ngok-sze, the official who had her phone snatched from her.

The defense lawyer said he needed a month to prepare and to study the prosecution’s evidence.

The hearing was adjourned to December 17 for a pretrial review.

Hui was released on bail of HK$8,000 (US$1,020). He did not need to hand in his travel documents, can leave Hong Kong, and also does not need to report to the police during his bail.

The court case revolves around an incident that took place on April 24 when Hui allegedly snatched a cellphone belonging to Leung, an employee from the Security Bureau (SB).

Leung at the time was working to coordinate support for a controversial bill drafted by the SB to allow mainland officers to operate within a special port area at the high-speed rail link terminus in West Kowloon.

It was at this point that Hui allegedly snatched her phone, which he claimed contained lawmakers’ personal information, and then ran into the men’s toilets to look through it.

Known for his exaggerated antics, Hui’s actions were condemned by the Democratic Party.

According to Apple Daily, Hui told reporters that the party have suspended his membership, and he will be facing an internal disciplinary hearing.

The newspaper also reported that the party’s vice chairman, Lo Kin-hei, and fellow lawmaker James To were also present at the court to support Hui.

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