Police to probe more than 200 Occupy protesters as leaders prepare to surrender
As Occupy co-founders surrender with plea for protests to end, source reveals existence of long list of suspects for further investigation
The three co-founders of Occupy Central will today hand themselves in to police, as a police source revealed that more than 200 people had been identified for investigation over the civil disobedience movement.
The Reverend Chu Yiu-ming and academics Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Dr Chan Kin-man plan to report to Central Police Station at 3pm in an attempt to bring a peaceful end to the protests. They also made an open appeal to student-led protesters to retreat.
They will be joined by dozens of Occupy supporters, including Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun. Media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and Democratic Party Founder Martin Lee Chu-ming will wait for the protests to end before surrendering.
Watch: Hong Kong's Occupy co-founders to 'surrender', urge students to retreat
Student leaders have ruled out surrendering yet, though Federation of Students leader Alex Chow Yong-kang said last night it was "only a matter of time" before they gave themselves up. The federation would discuss with protesters how to end the campaign, he added.
Meanwhile a police source revealed that the Occupy trio were on a list for investigation, along with more than 200 others. They include people who clashed with officers during attempts to clear protest camps and people who had incited others to act illegally.
No action had been taken so far because the focus was on clearing the remaining protest camps, the source added.
The Occupy trio made their announcement two days after student leaders escalated the protests with an attempt to blockade government headquarters in Admiralty. The effort was beaten back by police in an operation that saw dozens of arrests and injuries on both sides. The escalation is thought to have forced the trio to bring their plan to surrender forward by two days.
"Our young people have used their bodies to withstand the blows of police batons, their blood and broken bones have brought us the deepest sorrow," Tai said as he read the trio's open letter. "For the sake of the occupiers' safety … we three urge the students to retreat."
Chan said he did not agree that the movement had failed or that its tactics had been naïve.
"If we were naïve, it would be in our naïve beliefs towards 'one country, two systems' and the government's conscience," he said. "It is the government - which refuses to answer."
Chu, a 70-year-old veteran activist, held back tears as he touched on police use of batons, pepper spray and tear gas in an attempt to disperse protesters.
Chan added that Occupy had liaised with the Democratic Development Network, which had pledged to provide subsidies for individuals or groups who intend to promote education on democracy.
"I was very clear about my duty from day one - to lead all participants home safely," said Chu, adding that the protest had veered from its theme of "love and peace" and "we could no longer protect everyone".
Tai dismissed the idea that the three were abandoning those still on the streets of Admiralty and Causeway Bay.
"Our call is out of love to the occupiers," he said, adding that he hoped students would help take the spirit of the "umbrella movement" into the community.
Secretary for security Lai Tung-kwok welcomed the trio's decision and said police would act in accordance with procedures in handling the case.
Watch: Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong respects Occupy co-founders' decision to surrender