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Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Movement

Multiple Hong Kong Activists Attacked and Arrested Within Two Days

2019/08/30 , News
TIME
Photo Credit: AP / TPG Images
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Two prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activists, Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, were arrested this morning in Hong Kong, their political organization says.

A statement from the pro-democracy Demosistō party said that 22-year-old Wong was “suddenly pushed into a private car on the street” near a subway station on the southern side of Hong Kong island.

About an hour later, the party said Chow, also 22, was arrested at her home.

A spokesperson for the police confirmed that Wong faces charges of inciting, organizing, and participating in an unauthorized assembly in relation to an incident on June 21, when protestors besieged the police headquarters. Chow faces charges of inciting and participating in an unauthorized assembly on the same day.

Wong and Chow’s arrest could be part of a wider crackdown. On Thursday night, police also detained Andy Chan, the head of a banned pro-independence party, as he attempted to board a flight out of the territory.

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Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG Images
Isaac Cheng, vice-chairperson of Demosistō, a pro-democracy party in Hong Kong, speaks to the members of the media after the arrest of the pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong in Hong Kong on August 30, 2019.

The arrests come at a highly sensitive time, with police having banned a large march that was due to take place tomorrow to call for universal suffrage for the former British colony. Hong Kong’s ongoing pro-democracy protests have been ending in street battles of increasingly severity in recent weeks, and police gave this as the reason for the ban.

One of the organizers of the march, Bonnie Leung, told local media that the police were “declaring war on all peaceful protesters.” A large turnout is expected in defiance of the police order.

Meanwhile, another organizer of the march, Jimmy Sham, was attacked at a restaurant in central Kowloon yesterday. Local media reported that masked men armed with baseball bats attacked him and a companion as they were eating lunch.

Hours later, another activist, Max Chung, was attacked in Hong Kong’s northern suburbs by a group of men wielding metal rods.

Wong and Chow’s arrests are certain to exacerbate political tensions in the semi-autonomous enclave of 7.2 million, which was retroceded to China in 1997 but remains politically, culturally and linguistically distinct from the rest of the country.

The territory has been rocked by months of protest that were initially sparked by an unpopular extradition bill but have since exploded into a rebellion against its unpopular and unrepresentative government, and even against Chinese sovereignty itself.

The government has not ruled out imposing a state of emergency in a bid to restore order. Beijing has also intensified its rhetoric on the unrest, with the state-run Xinhua news agency labeling the protests a “color revolution” and the local military garrison acquiring new anti-riot vehicles in a highly publicized deployment.

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TNL Editor: Daphne K. Lee (@thenewslensintl)

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Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Movement:

At the end of the 2014 Umbrella Movement, Hongkongers promised they will be back. In June 2019, Hong Kong mobilized one-third of the population to protest against the government's extradition bill. The News Lens is covering the on-going movement and rallies in collaboration with our Hong Kong-based team.

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