Opposition figures arrested in HK over 2019 protests

Hong Kong: Hong Kong police have arrested 16 people on charges related to anti-government protests last year, including two opposition legislators.

Pro-democracy legislators Ted Hui and Lam Cheuk-ting were arrested early on Wednesday, according to posts on their Facebook pages.

Pro-democracy lawmakers Lam Cheuk-ting, left, and Ted Hui, right, argue with pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho during a demonstration of an anti-riot vehicle equipped with water cannon in Hong Kong last year.Credit:AP

Posts on Lam's Twitter account said he had been arrested on charges of conspiring with others to damage property and obstructing the course of justice during a protest in July 2019. The tweets said he has also been accused of rioting on July 21 that year.

That was the day a group of more than 100 men clad in white attacked protesters and passengers with steel rods and rattan canes in a subway station. Protesters and many from the opposition camp have accused the police of colluding with the attackers, as they arrived late to the scene and did not make arrests that night.

The post on Hui’s Facebook page did not make clear the exact charges he was facing.

The Democratic Party in Hong Kong confirmed in a separate Facebook post that both members were arrested.

The two were arrested along with 14 others — aged between 26 and 48 years old — in relation to protests last year, according to a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the press before an official statement had been released.

The semi-autonomous Chinese city saw months of anti-government protests after the government announced its intent to pass a controversial extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to the mainland to stand trial.

Anger over the bill, seen as an infringement on the former British colony's freedoms, sparked protests that at times descended into violence between police and demonstrators, and protests continued even after the bill was later shelved.

Since the start of the protests in June 2019, Hong Kong police has made more than 9000 arrests, including prominent pro-democracy figures Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, as well as media tycoon Jimmy Lai.

AP

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