A 24-year-old former civil engineer charged with stabbing a policeman at the July 1 protest in Hong Kong was sacked five months ago for taking part in a strike, a court heard on Friday.
Wong Kwan-wa appeared at Eastern Court to face one count of wounding with intent, after he was arrested just before midnight on Wednesday at Hong Kong International Airport attempting to leave the city.
Prosecutors did not lay any additional charges related to the new national security law against Wong, a former employee of China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong), who worked as a part-time chef at a Taiwanese noodle shop before his arrest.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
Police investigations were ongoing, including the collection of security footage in the area of Causeway Bay where the attack took place, and in Tsz Ching Estate in Wong Tai Sin, where Wong lived.
Wong was not required to enter a plea, but was remanded in custody by Magistrate Ho Chun-yiu after prosecutors objected to his temporary release. He will appear in the same court again on August 24. He can renew his bail application at the High Court.
A queue of more than 100 people who hoped to hear the proceedings snaked outside the court on Friday afternoon after police announced Wong’s prosecution, but none of his family members showed up.
The incident occurred around 4pm on Wednesday, when a police officer tried to subdue a protester taking part in the unauthorised protest against the new national security law.
Four protesters were said to have attacked the policeman, identified as Constable 25116 by prosecutors, with Wong allegedly stabbing him in the shoulder.
Prosecutor Vincent Lee Ting-wai revealed that police was able to pin down the defendant’s identity following an anonymous tip, which said the knifeman was about to take a flight to London late on Wednesday night.
The whistle-blower, whose identity remained unclear, did not tell police the name of the assailant, or which flight he was on board, Lee continued.
Defence lawyer David Chu Po-tin said his client had worked as a civil engineer for six months after graduating from the University of Hong Kong, but was fired in February because he had refused to work.
Wounding with intent is a criminal offence that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
On Wednesday, police arrested more than 370 people for offences including unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct in public, obstructing police and possession of weapons.
Ten people were arrested in connection with secession offences under the new national security law, with a 23-year-old man who allegedly ploughed his motorcycle into police officers becoming the first person to be charged under the legislation.
Nine others, who have not been charged, have been released on police bail.
Additional reporting by Lilian Cheng
Rebel City: Hong Kong’s Year of Water and Fire is a new book of essays that chronicles the political confrontation that has gripped the city since June 2019. Edited by the South China Morning Post's Zuraidah Ibrahim and Jeffie Lam, the book draws on work from the Post's newsrooms across Hong Kong, Beijing, Washington and Singapore, with unmatched insights into all sides of the conflict. Buy directly from SCMP today and get a 15% discount (regular price HKD$198). It is available at major bookshops worldwide or online through Amazon, Kobo, Google Books, and eBooks.com.
This article Hong Kong protests: police stabbing suspect remanded in custody after court appearance first appeared on South China Morning Post