Democratic Party member Howard Lam appeared in court on Thursday on charges of misleading police officers. He was released on HK$5,000 bail and is not allowed to leave Hong Kong until his next court hearing on September 14.
The case was heard at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts. Lam was initially set to be absent from the hearing as he was hospitalised, but the police said his doctors believed he could be discharged and attend.
Last Friday, Lam said he was abducted and assaulted by suspected mainland agents in Hong Kong. He claimed that he was falsely imprisoned, interrogated and assaulted by men who inserted 21 staples into his legs. In the early hours of Tuesday, he was arrested and detained by police for allegedly providing false information. The arrest came around three hours after investigative news agency Factwire published CCTV clips appearing to contradict Lam’s version of events.
Acting Police Commissioner Alan Lau has said that the information provided by Lam did not match the information obtained by the police.
Under the Police Force Ordinance, anyone who makes a false report to the police or misleads officers by giving false information is guilty of an offence, and liable to a fine of HK$1,000 and imprisonment for six months.
Pro-Beijing lawmaker Paul Tse said on a RTHK programme that the Democratic Party may have approached the incident in the wrong order, as they organised a press conference before Lam reported to the police or hospital. He said they should have clarified all questions before going public.
“The police action was quick to show a different perspective,” he said. “We also have to thank the efforts of the relevant media [Factwire] – we should not speculate on the background and motive of that outlet.”
“The police are still investigating, but they have been revealing information about the case to show what they have been doing – their efficiency is quite good.”
Pro-democracy Civic Party chairman Alan Leong said the concerns over the controversial joint checkpoint arrangement of the Express Rail Link will not end because of Lam’s case.
Mainland agents will be allowed to enforce Chinese law in a special area of the West Kowloon terminus leased to the mainland when the terminal opens. The government is promoting the proposal, saying it will not violate the Basic Law, as the special area will not legally be considered Hong Kong territory.
“Our doubts did not begin with Howard Lam, and they will not end because Lam was arrested and detained. Even if we say that, one day, we will no longer believe in Howard Lam’s story anymore, it does not mean we need to trust [Chief Executive] Carrie Lam,” Leong said.