Hong Kong police arrested 15 leading pro-democracy figures on April 18, in connection with allegedly “organizing and participating in unlawful assemblies” last year. Among those arrested were two former chairs of the Democratic Party, Martin Lee and Albert Ho, former Democratic Party councilors Yeung Sum and Sin Chung-kai, and sitting district councilor Richard Tsoi; forner Labour Party councilors Lee Cheuk-yan and Cyd Ho; sitting council member Leung Yiu-chung of the Neighbourhood & Worker’s Service Centre; two leaders of the Civil Human Rights Front, Au Nok-hin and Figo Chan; three leaders of the League of Social Democrats, Raphael Wong, Leung Kwok-hung and Avery Ng; Civic Party leader Margaret Ng; and pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai.
The arrests are apparently related to demonstrations on Aug. 18 and Oct. 1, 2019. During the August protest, demonstrators occupied main roads following a large-scale assembly at Causeway Bay’s Victoria Park. During China’s National Day on Oct. 1, the police declared demonstrations to be “riots,” making the organizers subject to criminal charges. The incidents came amid months of “leaderless” demonstrations against a now-withdrawn extradition bill.
Following the arrests, activists gathered outside Cheung Sha Wan police station to protest. Police on the scene warned the crowd that they may be in violation of the Prevention & Control of Disease ordinance, which bans public gatherings of more than four people. The group chanted protest slogans such as “Hongkongers resist!” and “Five demands, not one less”—a reference to the five demands of last year’s protest movement. (HKFP)