World Asia 19 Apr 2020 Hong Kong arrests pr ...

Hong Kong arrests pro democracy activists, UK and US condemn the move

PTI
Published Apr 19, 2020, 12:04 pm IST
Updated Apr 19, 2020, 12:04 pm IST
Condemning the arrests, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the arrests "deeply concerning"
Former lawmaker and pro-democracy activist Martin Lee (C) talks to members of the media as he leaves the Central District police station in Hong Kong. AFP Photo
 Former lawmaker and pro-democracy activist Martin Lee (C) talks to members of the media as he leaves the Central District police station in Hong Kong. AFP Photo

Hong Kong: Police in Hong Kong carried out a sweeping operation against high-profile democracy campaigners on Saturday, arresting 15 activists on charges related to massive protests that rocked the Asian financial hub last year.

Among those targeted was 72-year-old media tycoon Jimmy Lai, founder of anti-establishment newspaper Apple Daily, who was arrested at his home.

 

The group also included former lawmakers Martin Lee, Margaret Ng, Albert Ho, Leung Kwok-hung, Au Nok-hin and current lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung.

They are accused of organising and taking part in unlawful assemblies in August and October, according to the police.

Five were arrested on suspicion of publicising unauthorised public meetings in September and October.

"The arrestees were charged or will be charged with related crimes," superintendent Lam Wing-ho said.

All 15 are due to appear in court mid-May.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the arrests "deeply concerning", saying in a tweet that "politicized law enforcement is inconsistent with universal values of freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly".

 

The semi-autonomous city was shaken by widespread and sometimes violent street protests in 2019, sparked by a now-abandoned proposal to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland and its opaque judicial system.

"Today's arrests of pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong is another nail in the coffin of 'one country, two systems'," said Sophie Richardson, the China director at Human Rights Watch, referring to the principle that guarantees freedoms in the city not seen on the mainland.

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