Hong Kong activists arrested over protest against Basic Law interpretation by Beijing
Total of nine, including two from Demosisto as well as members of League of Social Democrats and Student Fight for Democracy, rounded up
Nine pro-democracy activists, including senior members of two political parties, were rounded up by police on Thursday over a protest against Beijing’s interpretation of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution last November.
They were arrested at their homes early in the morning.
The nine men, aged 26 to 66, were charged with incitement to behave in a disorderly manner in a public place, taking part in an unlawful assembly, obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duties, and assaulting a police officer, according to police.
They were released on bail of HK$1,000 each and are expected to appear at Eastern Court next Friday.
The alleged offences were committed between the evening of November 6 and early on November 7 near Beijing’s liaison office in Western during a protest against the interpretation of the Basic Law that resulted in two pro-independence lawmakers – Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang – being ousted from the Legislative Council.
Among those arrested were the League of Social Democrats’ Avery Ng Man-yuen, and Demosisto members Derek Lam Shun-hin and Ivan Lam Long-yin. The Demosisto duo were first arrested in January but refused to renew bail when they reported back to police in February. At that time, they were released without charge. Demosisto on Thursday questioned if the government had “deliberately delayed the prosecution until now”.
Derek Lam said outside Western Police Station, after being released on bail, that he expected more arrests before July 1, when President Xi Jinping is expected to visit the city to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty.
“The government wants to frighten off activists from staging protests by using legal means,” he said. Ng vowed not to be intimidated by the crackdown.
In a joint statement, 25 lawmakers from the pan-democratic camp condemned Thursday’s arrests and those of Youngspiration duo Yau and Leung on Wednesday as a “political purge under the guise of law”.
Pro-establishment legislator Holden Chow Ho-ding, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said it was unfair to label the arrests as political persecution.