Flight cabin cleaner remanded in custody for taking baton and protest gear to Hong Kong airport

Chris Lau

A Hong Kong flight cabin cleaner was remanded in custody on Wednesday after he admitted taking a baton and protest gear to work at the airport.

West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court heard that Wong Siu-hong, 20, took an extendable baton, some first-aid items, a respirator, a pair of safety goggles and a trekking pole with him to work on September 21 as he planned to join an anti-government protest later that day.

But guards at Hong Kong International Airport detected the items when Wong went through security on his way to the restricted zone. Police were alerted immediately.

Wong, an employee of China Aviation Services, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of possessing offensive weapons.

The cleaner was caught with the offensive weapons at the airport’s security gate. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Principal Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen sought a variety of reports to study sentencing options, ranging from probation or community orders to time at training or rehabilitation centres.

He adjourned sentencing to February 7, remanding Wong in jail custody until then.

The court heard the cleaner arrived at the security checkpoint for airport staff at 6.35am on September 21.

When he sent his bag and a rucksack through an X-ray machine, the items inside alerted two security personnel, who then opened his bag to find the baton.

The store that supplies protective gear to Hong Kong’s demonstrators

Police later found the remaining items during another search, and arrested Wong.

He told police officers that he owned the items. He intended to take part in a protest in Tuen Mun after work that day, so he wanted to place the items in his personal locker while at work, he said.

Hong Kong has since June last year been gripped by anti-government protests, sparked by anger at a piece of extradition legislation. Though the bill was withdrawn in September, the protests have morphed into a wider movement demanding greater democracy and more police accountability.

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Wong told police he found the baton on a street, but he had forgotten when and where. He said he bought the trekking pole for HK$100 (US$13).

He said he had taken the items along for self-defence because he feared he might be attacked by people aggrieved by the protests.

Extendable batons were at the centre of another controversy at the airport last month, when security personnel intercepted an off-duty police officer with one at a checkpoint. Police top brass said the officer had been warned over the incident.

This article Flight cabin cleaner remanded in custody for taking baton and protest gear to Hong Kong airport first appeared on South China Morning Post

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