Hong Kong Police Arrest Pro-Democracy Activist Joshua Wong

Hong Kong Police Arrest Pro-Democracy Activist Joshua Wong
Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG Images

What you need to know

He was held for "unlawful assembly" during protests last year, his lawyers said. He was also reportedly charged with violating the anti-mask law — a ban placed on wearing masks in public.

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was arrested for "unlawful assembly" related to a 2019 protest against a government ban on face masks, his lawyer said. 

A post on Wong's Twitter account said that he was also being held for violating the anti-mask law – a ban on wearing face masks in public places, which has since been ruled unconstitutional.

"The arrest is related to participating in an unauthorized assembly on [October 5] last year. He is told to have violated the draconian anti-mask law as well," Wong's account said. 

The 23-year-old activist's lawyer told AFP that he was arrested when he reported to a police station regarding another case against him, for which he is currently on trial. His arrest adds to several unlawful assembly charges or suspected offenses that he and other activists are facing related to last year's pro-democracy protests.

Avery Ng, chairman of the League of Social Democrats, confirmed that both Wong and Koo Sze Yiu, a fellow member of the group, have been arrested. Meanwhile, Hong Kong police confirmed that they arrested two men, aged 23 and 74, on Thursday for illegal assembly on Oct. 5, 2019. 

 Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG Images
Pro-democracy activists Ivan Lam, Joshua Wong, and Agnes Chow arrive to the Eastern Court for hearing in Hong Kong, July 6, 2020. 

'Promoting self-determination'

The Hong Kong government invoked a colonial-era emergency law on October 4 last year to ban the wearing of masks at demonstrations, sparking an outry and mass protests against the ban across the city the next day.

The arrest comes just a day after a Hong Kong court rejected on procedural grounds a challenge by Wong to his disqualification from district elections in the city last year.

Wong was the only candidate in the district council elections to be disqualified, with authorities saying his candidacy violated electoral laws that bar "advocating or promoting self-determination" for the former British colony. 

Huge demonstrations broke out in Hong Kong in June 2019 in response to a bill that would allow for the extradition of dissidents to mainland China to face trial there. Last month, China introduced a sweeping national security law which bans subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

Critics fear that the law will be used to more broadly quash dissent within the semi-autonomous city. Wong's long-time colleague, Agnes Chow, and two other activists were also among 10 people police arrested in August on suspicion of violating the new law. 

This article was updated at 4:30 pm, September 24, 2020.

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This article was originally published on Deutsche Welle. Read the original article here.

TNL Editor: Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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