Ex-councillor jumps bail and flees HK

Local | Michael Shum 4 May 2021

Former Kowloon City district councillor Timothy Lee Hin-long has jumped bail and left Hong Kong, saying he fears a national security prosecution.

Lee, 27, is out on bail after being arrested for exaggerating election expenses in November. He ran with Yuen Long district councillor Henry Wong Pak-yu, 29, in the now-postponed Legislative Council elections.

In a statement released yesterday, he also said he had resigned as a Chinese University convocation member just a week after being elected to the position.

Lee said he had no plans to leave when running for the position, but the general meeting was postponed four times in the past nine months.

As he understood he would no longer be able to conduct essential duties in person, he tendered his resignation yesterday, he said in the statement.

"Leaving the home where I was born and raised is a sad last resort. I am extremely sorry for failing to finish what people have entrusted me with," Lee said.

"I left when so many of my close friends and allies whom I once fought alongside are now either in deep danger or have already been deprived of their freedom - and for that, I feel ashamed," he added.

Lee stopped short of revealing his current location, citing safety concerns. He is unsure where he is going to flee to ultimately. "But the one thing I am sure of is that Hong Kong is and will be my only home regardless of where I am physically."

Lee was elected a district councillor in 2019 but was unseated about two months ago after losing an election petition for claiming to have the support of scholar Simon Shen Xu-hui and former lawmaker Lau Siu-lai before having their formal written consent. He was ousted after the high court ruled him not duly elected.

During his time as a district councillor, Lee also joined the pro-democracy camp's primary elections, but he was not one of the 47 people arrested and detained for subversion under the national security law.

However, he was arrested along with Wong and the director of a company, Jason Chan Tsz-him, for exaggerating election expenses.

The two councillors ran in the Legislative Council "super seat" constituency, with Wong heading the list and Lee second.

They had declared election expenses of HK$4.89 million, which is the highest of all candidates within the constituency, with HK$4.5 million of that being a donation from the company.

The trio were then arrested for forging documents with intent to defraud, and have been released on bail pending police investigation.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party's Lam Cheuk-ting announced he has resigned as the vice chairman of his party, which will trigger an election soon.

Lam is one of the 47 defendants detained after being arrested in February for taking part in the pro-democracy camp's primaries.

He said in a statement that he will not be able to execute his duties as the vice chairman in custody and therefore has to step down to allow others to assist the party's chairman.

Lam emphasized that he will not part ways with the party due to the prosecutions and "looks forward to fighting for democracy once again after he regains freedom."

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