Scores of key players and leaders in the Occupy Central campaign, including former heads of the Bar Association and pan-democratic legislators, were arrested as police moved in to clear the Admiralty base camp yesterday. Among the big names were media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying of the Hong Kong-listed Next Media group; "father of democracy" Martin Lee Chu-ming; and Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit and chairwoman Audrey Eu Yuet-mee. Lee, Leong and Eu had all chaired the city's professional body of barristers before. Labour Party chairman and lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan was one of the last arrests, at 9.10pm. Some 247 people were arrested. The prominent figures, along with other Occupy protesters, were sitting on Harcourt Road in a last-ditch effort to stand up for genuine universal suffrage before the police action began. They did not resist when officers approached; Lee and Leong even waved to cheering supporters as they were led away. Lai, known for his critical stance on Beijing, stepped down as the publisher of Next Media subsidiary Apple Daily , the Chinese-language newspaper reported yesterday. He was replaced by Next Media executive director Ip Yut-kin. Next Media confirmed Lai was taken away by the police, but stressed "the business and operations of the group are and have been operating by a professional management team and not Mr Lai alone … This incident will not affect the normal and usual course of business of the group." Also arrested were student activists Alex Chow Yong-kang, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Eason Chung Yiu-wa of the Federation of Students, which had led the protests since late September. At least 20 Democratic Party members - including legislators Emily Lau Wai-hing, Albert Ho Chun-yan, James To Kun-sun and Sin Chung-kai - were arrested as well. A Beijing resident shouted "Down with the Communist Party!" before he was carried away. Wang Dengyao, 55, said he had also taken part in the 1989 Tiananmen Square student movement, and had entered the city this week to "find out the real situation in Hong Kong". All the detainees were told they were being arrested on suspicion of obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty and for taking part in an unlawful assembly. Most of them were taken to Kwai Chung police station. By 10.30pm, they remained in police custody. Hours before the police took action in Admiralty, four activists from radical groups were arrested, apparently to prevent them from showing up at the site. Wong Yeung-tat, 35, of Civic Passion, was arrested on suspicion of "taking part in, convening and organising an unauthorised assembly". The group said on its Facebook page that he was accused of involvement in 59 cases of illegal assembly. Cheng Kam-moon, 26, of the Student Front, was arrested on suspicion of attending and inciting others to take part in an illegal assembly. So Ho, 28, an assistant of People Power lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, was arrested on suspicion of taking part in an unlawful assembly. League of Social Democrats vice-chairman Raphael Wong Ho-ming, 26, was arrested on suspicion of attending and inciting others to take part in an illegal gathering. Except for Wong Yeung-tat, the other three were later released on bail.