image

Hopes and fears: Zhang Dejiang visits Hong Kong

Joshua Wong and four other Demosisto activists released after arrest for trying to get near Zhang Dejiang’s motorcade

Group chanted ‘End one-party dictatorship’ and ‘Self-determination for Hong Kong people’ as they were subdued by police

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 May, 2016, 10:40am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 May, 2016, 11:59am

Five young activists, including Joshua Wong Chi-fung, were released on bail late Thursday night after getting arrested as they attempted to get close to state leader Zhang Dejiang’s motorcade on Thursday, the last day of the state leader’s visit to Hong Kong.

The five Demosisto members said the arrests were clearly politically motivated, criticising also that the force had raided their homes to collect evidence.

“We think the arrests are political arrests. The police have abused their power,” said Wong after his release outside Kwun Tong police station. “The [police] did that when Zhang Dejiang was in Hong Kong because the government is afraid of the people’s voices. Demosisto will not give up and will continue to fight together with everyone.”

Wong and his fellow Demosisto members, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Oscar Lai Man-lok, Benny Ng and Chow Cheuk-kiu, attempted to get near to Zhang’s motorcade as the vehicles were exiting the Eastern Harbour Crossing on the way to an elderly centre in Tseung Kwan O. They were quickly subdued by police officers while chanting “End one-party dictatorship” and “Self-determination for Hong Kong people”.

The five were arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct in a public place and obstructing police officers in execution of their duty. They were released late Thursday night about 12 hours after the arrests.

Law said their actions were too minor to warrant being detained for so long. He said police had subdued the five in order to create an illusion to Zhang that the people of Hong Kong were satisfied with the performance of the city’s government.

Elite officers, machine guns disguised as briefcases and a 45-strong motorcade: inside Zhang Dejiang’s Hong Kong security detail

“Our powers are small. But we have done our best to try to stand in front of Zhang Dejiang to tell him [about] Hong Kong people’s pursuit of democracy,” Law added.

Police said officers at the scene issued verbal warnings to the activists before arresting them. The force “strongly condemned” the five for their premeditated actions to breach the law, a spokesman said.

The spokesman also said police respected the public’s freedom of assembly and freedom to express their opinions, but the force was also responsible for maintaining public order.