Localist activist Edward Leung Tin-kei and a reporter from the Beijing-backed Ta Kung Pao newspaper were bound over for HK$1,000 in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Friday after the prosecution dropped charges against them.
The court heard that Leung, 25, and reporter Lo Wing-yin, 42, fought in Tai Koo station last August. The duo were arrested for fighting in public last month, but on Friday the prosecution decided not to pursue the case and offered no evidence against them.
Though the charges were dropped, the pair will need to comply with the binding-over order for the next 12 months. They were also ordered to pay HK$500 respectively for court costs.
Last August, Leung was being followed by reporters from pro-Beijing newspapers.
The activist allegedly quarreled with Lo in Tai Koo station on August 13. Leung previously said the reporter hit him first, and described the action of the reporter as part of the “political machine.”
Lo claimed that he had only acted in self-defence as Leung hit him first. He reported the incident to the police the next day, accusing Leung of assault.
The scuffle was caught on camera. The footage showed Leung’s shirt was visibly damaged, and the reporter grabbed Leung’s phone and threw it away.
Leung is facing one count of inciting rioting and two counts of rioting. He, alongside nine others, will be tried for his role in the Mong Kok unrest that erupted last February. The 80-day trial is scheduled to begin on January 15 next year.
Leung previously apologised to supporters for his absence in demonstrations in response to the legislature’s oath row, citing his fear of being detained immediately until next year’s trial. He also said he will be going to Harvard University this month to research the localist movements in Hong Kong and Taiwan.