Pair arrested following airport protest and assault on pro-independence Hong Kong lawmaker Nathan Law

Demosisto legislator urges police to investigate whether incident was a planned attack

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2017, 3:43pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2017, 9:26pm

Police arrested two men on Tuesday for assaulting localist lawmaker Nathan Law Kwun-chung, who was injured during a confrontation with protesters at Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday.

The two Hongkongers, aged 53 and 71, were picked up by detectives from the New Territories South regional crime unit at their homes at about 10am on Tuesday morning.

The arrests were made less than 24 hours after the pair were released from police custody on Monday. The pair had been initially detained on Sunday night on suspicion of assaulting three television crew members during the protest.

The two men were arrested on suspicion of assaulting the victim [legislator Nathan Law] and unlawful assembly,” a police source said, adding that further arrests were expected in connection with the case.

Nathan Law attacked at Hong Kong International Airport by pro-China protesters

“We are still trying to identify others involved in the protest [at the airport],” the source said.

According to police, the two men were being held for questioning and had not been formally charged.

Law, a legislator for the political party Demosisto, was on Sunday night returning from a two-day trip to Taipei where he and his party secretary general Joshua Wong Chi-fung, fellow localist lawmakers Edward Yiu Chung-yim and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick held talks with Taiwan’s pro-independence party New Power Party.

As Law emerged from the arrival hall, he was met by the crowd of angry anti-Hong Kong independence protesters. At one point, liquid was thrown in his face as police and airport security guards struggled to escort him to safety. He suffered minor injuries to his neck, arms and thigh, and had his shirt torn in the incident.

On Monday, Law claimed a lack of police security at the time of his return was partly to blame for the ugly scene.

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A police source, however, rejected Law’s allegations, saying officers had warned Law of the protesters and advised him to take another route out of the airport, but he turned it down.

Speaking on a radio programme on Tuesday morning, Law urged police to investigate whether there were elements of organised crime involved in the protest and suggested the assault was a planned attack, not just an ordinary demonstration.

“I would not consider those as protests. They were not trying to express any political opinions or seek dialogue… their intention was to attack me,” he said.

Sunday’s attack came after Joshua Wong Chi-fung was confronted by pro-China protesters in Taipei on Saturday.

“When I arrived to Hong Kong, the protesters seemed to want to one-up the protests in Taipei,” Law said, also claiming he had seen some of the same demonstrators at the airport as he and Wong were departing Hong Kong for Taipei.

Hong Kong Tourism Practitioners’ Union chairman Yip Chi-wai, who led a group of local tour guides at the protest on Sunday, said he was there to express his dissatisfaction with Law, his pro-independence views and his role in the 2014 Occupy movement, which “ruined Hong Kong” and caused many people in his industry to lose their jobs.

Yip denied accusations that he or “his people” had taken part in the violence and challenged Law to produce evidence showing protestors had been paid to be there.