Hong Kong, August 26
Hong Kong police arrested two opposition lawmakers on Wednesday over anti-government protests in July final 12 months, one in every of whom was suspected of rioting throughout an incident wherein he was attacked by a mob.
Police mentioned Democratic Party lawmakers Lam Cheuk-ting and Ted Hui had been amongst 16 individuals arrested.
Lam was arrested on suspicion of rioting on July 21, 2019, when a mob of over 100 males wielding sticks and poles attacked pro-democracy protesters, journalists and bystanders at a practice station within the Yuen Long district, close to the mainland border.
Senior Superintendent Chan Tin-chu instructed a information convention that the police thought the assaults got here from each the white-shirted mob and black-clad protesters, and Lam’s presence aggravated the scenario.
Lam was hospitalised after being wounded within the face as he livestreamed the assault on his Facebook web page.
“It does not mean you are free from responsibility if you’re doing live (streaming),” Chan mentioned, with out elaborating on how his actions could have amounted to rioting.
An administrator for Lam’s twitter account rejected the accusation.
“Admin: Before being attacked by the armed mobs, Lam has already called the police to report the attack. However, the police failed to arrive promptly and Lam was injured by the assailants 20 minutes later,” learn the tweet.
Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai mentioned police had been “reversing right and wrong”, whereas Yuen Long district councilor Tommy Cheung, a pro-democracy politician, accused police of rewriting occasions.
Before Wednesday, police had arrested 44 individuals believed to had taken half within the mob assault, eight of whom had been charged with rioting. Police mentioned 13 extra had been arrested on Wednesday for rioting, a few of whom could have had hyperlinks with legal gangs often called triads.
While Hong Kong’s triads – historical secret societies that morphed into mafia-style underworld operations – have a decrease profile than up to now, they continue to be entrenched in some grittier districts and in rural areas.
Activists accused police of colluding with triads and being sluggish to reply on July 21. The police denied that and mentioned its sluggish response was partly attributable to protests elsewhere within the metropolis the place forces had been deployed.
Lam, together with Hui, was additionally accused of being concerned in a protest on July 6 within the Tuen Mun district, the place amid rising anti-Beijing sentiment protesters marched towards the “noise pollution” attributable to middle-aged ladies singing and dancing to pop songs in Mandarin, the language spoken in mainland China.
Hong Kong individuals communicate primarily Cantonese.
Police says Hui forcefully took a cellphone from somebody filming protesters.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 beneath a one nation, two techniques settlement with its former colonial grasp Britain that promised it wide-ranging freedoms unavailable on the Communist Party-ruled mainland.
The protests final 12 months had been fuelled by perceptions that Beijing was tightening its grip on these freedoms, which authorities have denied.
They started with peaceable marches towards a since-withdrawn invoice that will have allowed extraditions to mainland China, however clashes between police and protesters turned extra violent over the next months.
Critics say a brand new nationwide safety regulation imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong on June 30 has pushed town onto a extra authoritarian path, whereas its supporters say it’s going to convey stability after a 12 months of unrest.
The regulation permits for something China considers to be secessionist, subversive, terrorism or collusion with international forces to be punished with as much as life in jail. Reuters