Hong Kong opposition lawmakers arrested for taking part in protests
Hong Kong, Aug 26 (efe-epa).- Two lawmakers from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition were arrested on Wednesday morning for suspected rioting by taking part in anti-government protests last year, public broadcaster RTHK reported.
Ted Hui and Lam Cheuk-ting were arrested from their homes at about 6 am, according to posts on the Democratic Party’s social media accounts.
“Our lawmakers @tedhuichifung & @cheuktinglam were arrested this morning for case related to Tuen Mun Park last year,” the party said on Twitter.
“LAM was also arrested for participating in a riot on 7.21 at Yuen Long Station, while he was actually a victim doing livestream & injured by white shirt gangs,” it added.
Lam said on his Facebook page that he has been accused of participating in the destruction of public property outside Tuen Mun police station as well as obstructing justice and causing rioting in last year’s so-called 721 riot.
On July 21, 2019, a group of men dressed in white shirts attacked hundreds of people, injuring 45, at a Hong Kong metro station following protests for democratic reforms, an incident that came to be known as the “721 riot.”
Lam was one of the people present at the metro station during that incident, during which he sustained head injuries.
An administrator posted on Lam’s Twitter feed that “@cheuktinglam has been arrest. He is accused of rioting in Yuen Long on July 21 2019. The Police also accused him of conspiring with others to damage property and obstructing the course of justice in Tuen Mun on July 6 2019.”
The arrests come two weeks after the detention of Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, a vocal critic of China, and activist Agnes Chow, under the new national security law passed by the Chinese National People’s Congress.
Those arrested on that occasion, nine people in total, were subsequently released on bail.
Those arrests followed the announcement of sanctions by the United States against 11 Hong Kong and Chinese officials, including the city’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, for their involvement in the enactment of the national security law, which, according to Washington, undermines the city’s autonomy.
The legislation has been opposed by lawyers, activists, journalists and a large segment of the citizens of Hong Kong, who fear it will curb the freedoms enjoyed by the semi-autonomous Chinese city, which was a British colony until 1997.
The law came after more than a year of pro-democracy protests that also included violent clashes between the police and some radical protesters, and which have had a negative impact on the local economy.
The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which articulated Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese hands in 1997, established a legally binding treaty whereby Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy had to be safeguarded for at least 50 years from that date. EFE-EPA