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Pinoy arrested in Mong Kok protest 'could face more charges'

30 September 2019

Pioquinto being tackled by police before his arrest during the Mong Kok protest on Aug 3

By Vir B. Lumicao

Prosecutors say more charges may be filed against a Filipino performer at Disneyland who was arrested during a police dispersal operation against anti-government protesters in Mong Kok on Aug. 3.

Jetro Pioquinto faces a charge of illegal assembly and is out on $10,000 bail.

The prosecutor told Kowloon City Court on Sept 30 that investigators are planning to add more charges against Pioquinto based on his alleged contacts with other protesters.
He made the disclosure after opposing an application by Pioquinto to be allowed to fly home to the Philippines for a December reunion with his family.

Pioquinto and his co-accused, Lee Wing-ho, appeared before Magistrate Ada Yim for a review of the conditions imposed when they were granted bail on Aug 5.

The volunteer defense counsel said Pioquinto wanted to apply for leave to go home in December, saying he had complied with all his bail conditions and had shown good behavior.

The defense lawyer also applied to have the curfew time imposed on the two adjusted to 1am until 6am, instead of the previous midnight to 6am. Pioquinto is said to leave his work at Disneyland at 11pm and risks arrest if he doesn’t reach his address in Mong Kok by midnight.

Magistrate Yim said at first that she was inclined to allow the defendant to leave Hong Kong for the family reunion due to his compliance with the bail conditions and good behavior.

But she will double his bail to $20,000 and require him to report to the police one day before his departure and after his arrival.

When the prosecutor objected, saying there was a risk Pioquinto would abscond, the magistrate brushed this aside, saying it made sense to grant the request, especially since the prosecution had not yet finalized its case against him.

“Letting him visit his family is more practical than letting them come over to visit him,” she said. “He came here to work and will return to that work.”

But the prosecutor argued the case would be ready for plea by the end of November, after investigators decide on whether additional charges would be filed.

Magistrate Yim told the prosecution to complete its case against Pioquinto by Oct 28 so the trial could be set immediately.  

But when she said she wanted to fix a January trial date, the defense lawyer said she might not be available during that month.   

Yim set the next hearing on Nov 26, and extended the bail of Pioquinto and Lee. She also adjusted their curfew to start at 1am and last until 6am.

But she warned them to comply with the bail conditions or risk arrest and confiscation of their bail money.

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