A student in Hong Kong, who was accused of rioting two months ago and was not allowed to leave the city, was arrested at the airport on Sunday when he attemped to leave for an exchange programme in Japan, 30 minutes before his travel ban was to be lifted.
Australian National University student Leung Ka-kei, 24 was charged with rioting at Kowloon City Magistracy on November 20 last year, when a record number of more than 200 defendants appeared in six courts to face charges in connection with anti-government protests outside Polytechnic University earlier that month.
The undergraduate was allowed to leave Hong Kong to continue his studies abroad for designated periods, after he posted a HK$50,000 (US$6,427) cash bail along with a surety of HK$100,000.
On Sunday night, he arrived at Hong Kong International Airport to board a flight to Japan at 1.25am the next day, to join an exchange programme at Osaka University.
But after he passed through a security check at 11.30pm, he was stopped at the immigration checkpoint as officers found out the court had only allowed him to travel starting midnight on Monday.
Leung was taken to the Kowloon City Magistracy courtroom again on Monday morning, after police arrested him for breach of bail conditions five minutes before his travel ban was about to be lifted.
His lawyer Jacqueline Lam told the court Leung had no intentions to abscond, but was apprehended because he did not bring along his bail document to present to police at the airport.
Acting principal magistrate Ada Yim Shun-yee said officers had no discretion to let the defendant walk free even though the breach of bail conditions was not premeditated.
But she decided to make no orders on the incident, after prosecutors agreed that the breach was a technical one, and did not oppose the continuation of the defendant’s bail in its original terms.
The student will take a flight to Japan later this week.
Leung was among 213 defendants charged over violent clashes between anti-government protesters and police on November 18, a day after officers besieged the campus of Polytechnic University in Hung Hom and its surrounding areas. Over 13 days, some 1,377 people were arrested, while 318 underage teens had their information recorded by police.
He is exempted from appearing in the next court hearing on March 11, but must obey a curfew, stay away from Polytechnic University and its vicinity, and report to police once a week after he returns to Hong Kong.