Bar gathering was for Legco dreams of Lam, court hears

Top News | Sophie Hui 21 Apr 2021

A diner who initially failed to testify has told the court how a bar gathering appeared to be a celebration for Gordon Lam Sui-wa announcing his candidacy in the Legislative Council election that was eventually postponed last year.

Ng Chor-kan was yesterday escorted to Kowloon City Court after being arrested by police on Monday night for failing to testify for the prosecution.

Lam, 36, convener of the Hong Kong Small and Medium Restaurant Federation, and former lawmaker Tanya Chan Suk-chong, 49, pleaded not guilty to participating in a gathering in breach of a social distancing rule at the bar Hands on Tai Nan Street in Sham Shui Po on April 2 last year.

Their co-defendant, Chan Wai-choi, 32, who was in charge of the bar, pleaded not guilty to knowingly allowing a prohibited group gathering and failure to comply with directions for catering business operators.

Ng told magistrate Cheng Lim-chi that he and his friends went to the bar for dinner that night but a worker told them the whole bar had been reserved so they could only sit outside. He recalled that no staff took their temperature.

Ng saw people inside the bar but could not see clearly because of the frosted glass windows and doors.

He later saw a familiar face walking by and learned it was Lam after searching the internet. Tanya Chan entered the bar at about 11pm. The bar had around 30 people at that time, he added.

"Gordon will join the Legco election. Please support him," Ng recalled a woman saying inside the bar.

Another man then replied: "I will have a press conference at the Legco [complex] tomorrow, will everyone come to support?"

The woman then said: "How about we drink until 9.30am tomorrow and go to Legco directly?"

Ng said he later received a call from another witness, Pun Mei-mei, saying she had called police. He then paid the bill and saw officers arrive shortly after.

Ng apologized for his absence in court on Monday and submitted a medical certificate, saying he was unwell and a bit nervous to testify. Cheng accepted his explanation and did not punish him.

Another prosecution witness, Wong Wai-kit, who was also absent at Monday's trial, contacted police and appeared in court yesterday.

Chan Wai-choi's defense counsel, Jack Chan Yan-kit, said his client made the statement without police caution and did not know he would be prosecuted.

Officer Wong Pui-tung admitted he took Chan's statement without cautioning him as there was no sufficient evidence showing Chan operated the bar against the rules. The trial continues today.


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