Just another case of the boy who cried wolf

The fuss Joshua Wong Chi-fung is creating about two members of Demosisto being questioned and then let go on the mainland echoes previous incidents

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2018, 5:29pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2018, 10:19pm

For Joshua Wong Chi-fung, the party boss of the localist group Demosisto, perhaps fake news is better than no news.

He called a press conference this week and claimed two members of his group were detained on the mainland and subjected to abuse and intimidation.

Assuming the events he cited really did happen, his friends were merely questioned, not detained, for three and five hours respectively, on two different occasions.

Yes, this sort of things happens everywhere, and tends to take hours, because security and immigration officers don’t work for your convenience. Try going through an American airport if you are travelling from the Middle East.

They were questioned over their stances on Tibet independence and the 2014 Occupy protests. Well, they were travelling on the mainland with its own security concerns, and both were members of an anti-government group in Hong Kong.

At the conference, Wong refused to reveal their identities or any other personal details. We were supposed to accept his story on his say-so.

But Demosisto, the Hong Kong office of Amnesty International and other local human rights groups have called on the Hong Kong government to investigate.

Lam: no evidence Demosisto pair were detained by security forces

Investigate what? That they were pulled aside and questioned and then let go? Hopefully, those groups could provide more details to the authorities than what was given to the press.

Wong and his Demosisto friends risk repeating another public relations disaster like that of the Democratic Party, when party elders such as Martin Lee Chu-ming and Albert Ho Chun-yan helped organise a media conference for party member Howard Lam Tsz-kin, who claimed he was kidnapped and tortured with staples by Mandarin-speaking officers last year.

Lam was subsequently charged with making a false report to the police.

In 2016, Wong and his party comrade, Agnes Chow Ting, accused HSBC of “political censorship” for refusing to open a bank account for Demosisto. It turned out the bank only asked for additional information, which the pair refused to provide.

All international banks have been under intense pressure to toughen internal monitoring against money-laundering and the funding of terrorism. Many local businesses, political parties and non-profit groups have had to put up with additional scrutiny in obtaining bank services, not just Demosisto.

Some foreign media groups and US politicians think Wong deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. Sadly, we in Hong Kong are all too familiar with the boy who cried wolf.