Ruling a big blow for terror suspect

Local | Charlotte Luo 20 Nov 2019

A court has issued an arrest warrant for Indian terrorist suspect Ramanjit Singh, meaning extradition proceedings can start once Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor endorses it.

Eastern Court magistrate Pang Leung-ting yesterday ruled that Singh can be extradited to India.

The court's power is restricted to issuing an arrest warrant, with the final decision being made by the chief executive.

Singh has the right to apply for habeas corpus to the Court of First Instance within 15 days.

The execution of his arrest warrant will be delayed if his application is successful.

Singh, 30, is wanted by the Indian government for crimes comparable to 28 offenses in Hong Kong.

The Indian government has demanded his surrender over two criminal cases in 2016.

Singh was arrested on June 4, 2016 in India for stealing a car, carrying a revolver without a licence and possessing fake car plates as well as fake debit and credit cards.

He was also accused of helping six inmates escape from a prison in Nabha on November 27, 2016 after he had jumped bail and fled to Hong Kong.

Pang yesterday ruled there was a prima facie case for 18 of the 28 offenses of which Singh is accused .

"Despite the poor quality of evidence, the Indian government was convinced that an inference could be drawn," Pang said.

"With respect, I think the Indian government's approach is flawed."

Earlier, Singh's defense lawyer had said his client could face having his human rights violated and perhaps torture if he was extradited to India as he was a supporter of a Sikh separatist movement.

Pang said the court had to consider the risk Singh would be tortured by the Indian authorities before issuing an arrest warrant.

Singh has been remanded in custody since February last year over a heist involving more than 450 million yen (HK$32.4 million).

The case against him was dropped in June the same year.

He was found not guilty of handling HK$3 million in stolen goods in Hong Kong in August last year, but has been remanded in custody for his extradition hearing.

The Indian government issued a provisional warrant for Singh's arrest in June last year and made a formal request for his surrender on August 22 last year.

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