Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong cleared to travel after bail blunder leads to day of detention

Jasmine Siu

Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung was on Monday bailed and cleared to travel abroad as he seeks to boost global support for the Hong Kong democracy movement, after a court acknowledged an administrative blunder led to him being detained for a day.

Wong, 22, was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday morning for breaching the bail conditions imposed after he was charged over an anti-government protest on June 21.

But Eastern Court heard on Monday the apparent breach had been the result of inaccurate documentation of Wong’s bail terms, despite them having been read out correctly in court at the bail hearing.

Instead of lifting the travel ban on September 8 as the magistrate had agreed to, law enforcement read that Wong was only allowed to leave Hong Kong on September 12 and stopped him at the border.

Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai said it was “quite clearly an oversight by the court”.

Turning to the lawyers, she added: “Had you read the bail form you would have brought to my attention that the bail form was incorrect.”

Public prosecutor Karen Ng Ka-yuet said: “I think both parties bear the responsibility for this matter.”

Wong’s defence counsel Jeffrey Tam Chun-kit apologised for failing to spot the error.

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“I apologise on behalf of the whole legal team, including [Wong],” Tam said.

“The defendant didn’t have the intention to breach the bail terms.”

That was accepted by Chainrai, who then agreed to extend Wong’s bail and permitted him to leave Hong Kong for Germany and the US from September 9 to 23.

Wong has been charged with three counts, alleging that he organised, incited and took part in an unauthorised assembly during a siege of the police headquarters on June 21.

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He was released on HK$10,000 bail following his first court appearance on the day of his arrest on August 30, with the condition that he obey a curfew from 11pm to 7am, report to police once a week and steer clear of the Wan Chai headquarters.

He was also barred from leaving Hong Kong, with the exception of the two prearranged trips in September.

Speaking outside court, Wong said Sunday’s “chaos” caused his 24-hour detention.

He said he hoped to secure international support for Hong Kong democracy during his upcoming trips to Berlin and New York.

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