'Troublesome' Hong Kong activist Yang Kuang sent home from Beijing
I was released because I did nothing wrong, says Yang Kuang after expulsion from Beijing
Jennifer Ngo, Colleen Lee and Ng Kang-chung
The Hong Kong activist arrested in Beijing while trying to visit the wife of jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo received a warm welcome on his return home last night.
Yang Kuang said he had been escorted to Beijing airport and put on a flight after being held for over 30 hours by police, who told him he had been detained for "provoking quarrels and making trouble".
On his arrival at Hong Kong International Airport, he was met by a dozen supporters holding banners and flowers. They cheered as he appeared in the arrival hall. "I am very pleased to set foot in free Hong Kong again," said Yang, smiling.
He said he had been treated roughly at the time of his arrest, when his face was shoved into the pavement, drawing blood, but that no force had been used against him during his detention.
He said he had been denied contact with the "outside world" for two days. "It was a normal procedure for mainland police," he said. "I was told I would be repatriated."
He was unaware of any attempts by the Hong Kong government to assist him.
"I did not see any Hong Kong government representative during the detention ... I had to borrow money from a mainland police officer to buy a ticket to fly back to Hong Kong." He said he had lost his home-return permit but was confident that he would find a way to return to the mainland, where both his parents live.
He declined to go into details of what happened during the detention, for fear it would affect friends still on the mainland.
"I was released because I did nothing wrong," said Yang.
Yang, known for his fight for recognition of the Diaoyu Islands as Chinese territory, was in Beijing trying to visit Liu Xia on Friday, after a failed attempt the day before. Liu Xia has been under house arrest since 2010, when her dissident husband won the Nobel peace prize.
A video, uploaded to YouTube by rights activist Hu Jia - a friend of Yang's - showed how Yang was surrounded by several cars and bundled into a police car and driven away. There was no information about Yang's whereabouts until Hu broke the news on Twitter that he had been released and would be sent back to Hong Kong.
Hu criticised Beijing authorities for abusing their power. "The detention was flatly illegal. Mr Yang just liked to visit friends. It is absurd to say he was trying to provoke quarrels and make trouble," Hu said in a television interview.
"The authorities like to make up excuses and arrest you. This time it has been better. They did not say [Yang] possessed drugs."
"Provoking quarrels and making trouble" is widely seen as an excuse police use to arrest dissidents. Melamine-tainted-milk activist Zhao Lianhai was accused of the same thing after he tried to raise public awareness of the problem and fight for the rights of victims.
Hours before Yang was arrested he and several Hong Kong reporters had tried to visit Liu at her home. He claimed security guards at Liu's residence refused to let him in and then about a dozen men came out and pushed him and the journalists away.
The unidentified men then shouted at reporters and a scuffle broke out. A cameraman from TVB news was allegedly struck on the head.
A spokesman for Hong Kong's Immigration Department said that since receiving calls and seeing media reports on Yang, the government's Beijing office had used different channels to understand the situation and to find out about Yang's whereabouts, but had been unable to contact him before he was repatriated.
Earlier yesterday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said: "Lawful and normal reporting by Hong Kong journalists on the mainland should be protected and respected. That is the long-standing position of me and the government."