Man suspected of assaulting Global Times reporter at Hong Kong airport denied bail

HONG KONG (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – A 19-year-old man appeared in Eastern Magistrates’ Court in Hong Kong on Monday (Aug 19) for reportedly beating up and assaulting a Global Times reporter at the Hong Kong International Airport amid a mass sit-in that hamstringed the airport completely for two days.

The suspect Lai Yun-long, accused of unlawful assembly, assault and causing bodily harm, was denied bail.

No plea was entered on Monday. The case was adjourned to Oct 28 to provide police more time to investigate CCTV footage to ascertain whether other people were involved as well.

Despite wearing a reflective press vest, Fu Guohao, the reporter for the Beijing-based newspaper, was tied up with both hands held behind his head on a luggage trolley by a group of masked protesters and then assaulted for about an hour, when covering a protest at the city’s aviation hub in the evening of Aug 13.

Fu was later taken to hospital for treatment and was discharged on Wednesday.

Lai, a hotel waiter, argued that he did that because he suspected Fu was an undercover agent. Rejecting the defendant’s claim, the magistrate said it doesn’t justify his alleged assault on Fu.

According to the prosecutor, the defendant was also suspected of assaulting a police officer during a violent clash at a shopping mall – New Town Plaza – in Sha Tin on July 14. The violent clash saw a police officer’s fingertip being bitten off by a radical.

Lai will be produced in Sha Tin Magistrates’ Court on Friday in connection with the violent clash in Sha Tin.

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