Bailed activists to force police's hand
A group of activists detained for unlawful assembly in March say they will refuse to continue their bail and demand to be detained in protest at the lengthy investigation they say is designed to keep them out of action during the sensitive period surrounding June 4 and July 1.
But last night police moved to take the sting out of their protest by saying they were taking legal advice from the Department of Justice and had extended the bail period to the end of August.
All the detainees were not required to report to North Point police station on their original assigned date.
However, the 26 demonstrators and their supporters are planning to march to that police station tonight after the candle-light vigil at Victoria Park to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, to terminate their bail.
They are among 113 people arrested on March 6 after a demonstration against the budget blocked the junction of Des Voeux Road Central and Ice House Street for hours. Pepper spray was used to break up the protest. The arrested demonstrators each paid HK$300 bail and were required to report to the police between June 7 and June 10.
One of them, Yip Po-lam, 31, said it was police tactics to keep them on bail for months, and by demanding to be detained, they could force the police to decide whether to bring charges against them within 48 hours, the maximum time a person can be held without being charged.
'They are trying to assert pressure on us by the lengthy bail period. They are hoping that we will not participate in any demonstrations in this sensitive period near June 4 and July 1,' Yip said, referring to the Tiananmen and handover anniversaries.
Kitty Hung Hiu-han, 22, another arrested protester, said their action was also triggered by the recent high-profile investigation into graffiti calling for detained mainland artist Ai Weiwei to be freed.
'The police are getting more sensitive about protests recently. It has been three months now, and they are dragging their feet by continuing to offer bail. We are going to show the public how absurd the police are by giving up our freedom for 48 hours.'
Yip said the other arrested demonstrators would stay on bail and report to police on time, but they would hold rallies in Causeway Bay and outside the police station.