Detained activists including Joshua Wong slam Hong Kong’s ‘descent into police state’ after being held for more than 30 hours during Xi Jinping visit

The activists accused police of mistreatment during detainment and claimed to have been tailed and harassed by “thugs” upon their release, with one female protester claiming to have been deprived of three doses of medication

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 7:47pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 8:25pm

More than a dozen pro-democracy activists and their supporters held a rally in Hong Kong on Friday afternoon to condemn their 30-hour long detainment while President Xi Jinping toured the city, calling it a further sign of a descent into a “police state”.

The 26 protesters were not released on bail until 5am on Friday, nearly 30 hours after their arrest for “occupying” a symbolic statue at Golden Bauhinia Square on Wednesday night and 31/ 2 hours before a court hearing on the activists’ application for habeas corpus – a legal recourse to determine whether a detention is legal.

Outside the closed-off forecourt of government headquarters on Friday, the activists told reporters that they had been held for more than a day before police begun recording their statements.

The last detainee was let out after 33 hours and no charges were laid on any of them.

The activists accused the police of mistreatment during their detainment and claimed to have been tailed and harassed by “thugs” upon their release.

One female protester, Prince Wong Ji-juet, said she was baffled that male police officers were allowed to patrol outside their cell. She also claimed to have been deprived of three doses of medication for an unspecified illness.

“This was an unreasonable detention ... and we condemn the use of such procedural loopholes to strip us of our rights and freedoms,” activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung said. The former Occupy movement organiser and secretary general of pro-democracy political group Demosisto was one of those detained and released on bail.

“If we didn’t apply for habeas corpus, we’d probably still be sitting in a cell at North Point police station.”

The habeas corpus hearing was later cancelled after the protesters were allowed bail.

The arrested activists included Wong, lawmakers Nathan Law Kwun-chung, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and League of Social Democrats (LSD) chairman Avery Ng Man-yuen, among others.

Ng said LSD members were followed by police on Wednesday and at least two of the arrested members had were tailed by “unmarked vehicles” and “thugs” upon release. At least two members reported being attacked.

“Hong Kong has not just turned into a police state ... it has turned into a police- slash- thug state and police are using these thugs to suppress opposition voices,” he said.

The group also called for genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong, the unconditional release of cancer-stricken mainland Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, and for Hongkongers to join the annual July 1 rally on Saturday.

Xi completes his Hong Kong visit on Saturday following the swearing-in of incoming chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.