HK man denied bail for assaulting Chinese journalist

Hong Kong, Aug 19 (IANS) A Hong Kong court on Monday denied bail to a part-time hotel waiter allegedly involved in assaulting a Chinese journalist during a mass anti-government protest at the airport here.

Lai Yun-long, 19, was accused of assaulting Fu Guohao, who works for China's state-run newspaper Global Times, the South China Morning Post reported.

The incident took place overnight between August 13 and 14, when protesters blocked the paths of outbound travellers at the Hong Kong International Airport's (HKIA) departure hall and grounded hundreds of flights.

On the night of August 13, angry protesters surrounded Fu and another man at the departure hall on separate occasions, suspecting them to be spies of the Chinese government. The protesters also tied up their hands and feet, beat them and even blocked paramedics coming to their rescue.

Lai allegedly attacked Fu on two occasions. He allegedly kicked the journalist and poked him with an American flag when he was challenged by protesters. Later, he allegedly hit Fu again when the latter was being carried away by paramedics.

In the Eastern Court on Monday, Lai faced one count of wounding, one of assault causing bodily harm and another of taking part in an unlawful assembly.

Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai rejected his bail application and adjourned the case to October 28 for further police inquiries, reports the the South China Morning Post.

Sparked by the now-shelved extradition bill, which would would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China, the anti-government protest at the airport had started off as a peaceful one.

Black-clad protesters joined a sit-in at the arrival hall that started on August 9, in an attempt to rally overseas support via incoming travellers.

But on the fifth day of the mass sit-in, pandemonium reigned over the departure hall as the protesters sat in the path of outbound travellers and forced the cancellation of some 421 flights that day.

--IANS

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