Hong Kong authorities have deported former Bank of America Merrill Lynch executive Samuel Bickett, according to NBC News. He had been forced to leave the territory immediately after serving a prison sentence for assaulting an undercover police officer in 2019, the channel said.
The 37-year-old lawyer said he tried to stop the officer from “beating and suffocating” someone who entered the metro without paying a ticket, according to AFP. The officer was not in uniform and Bickett said he had no way of knowing he had hit a member of the police force, AFP reported.
The incident had occurred alongside pro-democracy protests but was not politically motivated, NBC News said.
From jail to plane
In a statement posted on Twitter, Bickett said he had not been allowed to properly prepare for his departure from Hong Kong. “Instead, I was taken immediately from jail to immigration detention and then escorted to a plane the same day,” he said. He said he was not allowed to say goodbye to anyone or “wind up my business”. The South China Morning Post (SCMP) quoted an unnamed government official as saying the hasty deportation was justified because Bickett did not have a valid residence permit.
In his Twitter post, Bickett said he was detained for eight hours at an airport in Turkey while traveling to Washington, DC.
He said Turkish officials told him they acted on Hong Kong’s request.
Banned from Hong Kong
“I have been banned from Hong Kong,” the lawyer said on Twitter.
The anonymous official told SCMP that Bickett had not been banned from the territory. The source also told the newspaper that Bickett was actually allowed to say goodbye to his partner before flying out of the former British colony. He had also been allowed to collect baggage, the source told SCMP.
In his statement on Twitter, the American said the self-governing Chinese city has been “my home for a long time”. His departure had been ordered “by an unelected government which, with open contempt for Hong Kong’s system of law and justice, has sought to destroy everything and everyone who makes our city exceptional”, he said. declared.
Bickett also said he believed he “could once again walk the streets of a Hong Kong ruled by law and governed by the consent of its people.”
The SCMP said city law allows the government to deny entry to a foreigner who has been convicted of a crime in Hong Kong punishable by two years or more in prison. The court sentenced the American to a prison term of less than five months, the newspaper noted.
Former Bank of America chief compliance officer Merrill Lynch had criticized the government, NBC News recalled. The government’s treatment of Bickett has been seen by many observers as an example of the stifling of dissent in Hong Kong since the imposition of a national security law by mainland China in 2020, NBC said. News.
Hong Kong lifts ban on flights from US
The New York Times reported that Hong Kong was set to relax some of its Travel restrictions on April 1. On that day, flights from nine countries would no longer be prohibited in the territory, the newspaper said. These countries are Australia, Great Britain, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United States. Hong Kong would still be closed to all except vaccinated Hong Kong residents returning to the territory, the newspaper said.
Publish a newsletter
For the past three months, Bickett has published a Substack newsletter on law in the former British colony.
“My primary goal in creating this newsletter is to document the deterioration of the rule of law in Hong Kong by breaking down the myriad ways the government ignores and perverts the law to serve its political ends,” he said.
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