A man who escaped Hong Kong police through the ceiling of a hospital toilet may have had the help of an accomplice, a senior police source said on Saturday, as the fugitive remained at large.
That came as Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung said the force would investigate if officers guarding 34-year-old Leon Li had followed procedure, after a patient from the same ward claimed the suspect was not handcuffed when he went to the bathroom.
The whereabouts of the Dominican Republic passport holder, on the run since 2015, remained a mystery since he was last seen entering the toilet at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam on Friday.
The source said officers believed Li was still in Hong Kong, and had told the Immigration Department to keep an eye out for him at all border checkpoints.
He also gave details of the alleged accomplice.
“We are looking for a mainland Chinese man who once came to Central Police Station and brought pills to Li,” the source said.
He said the man tried to get the pills to Li through officers on the desk at the police station, where Li was being held. Officers received the pills, but did not pass them on, because it is not allowed.
“We marked down his personal details from his travel document and went to the hotel where he claimed to be staying,” the source said. “But the man was lying; he was nowhere to be found.”
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Three years ago Li, who also holds a Chinese passport, was arrested and charged with possession of a fake ID card. He was bailed and left Hong Kong.
On Wednesday he tried to re-enter the city on his Dominican Republic passport, one of several others he reportedly held. He was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport and taken to Central Police Station.
While he was there, the friend made the unsuccessful pill drop-off. It was unclear what pills the man wished to pass to Li or if they were pills at all, the source added.
On Thursday Li told police he had Aids and needed to go to hospital. He was taken to Queen Mary, where, during a trip to the toilet at 8.30am the next morning, he made his latest escape.
The source said the force was trying to contact the lawyer who represented Li upon his arrest on Wednesday.
A patient, surnamed Ho, one of two other patients who shared a hospital ward with Li, claimed Li repeatedly asked officers to take him to the toilet, which they did.
Li was chained and handcuffed the first few times he went to the toilet, Ho said, but was not shackled the final time, when he escaped.
Asked about that claim on Saturday, Lo said: “At the moment we are doing our inquiry. If any officer is found to have contravened any guidelines or the established procedure, we will take follow-up actions,” Lo said. “At the same time we are doing our best to locate the wanted person.”
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