Police in Hong Kong detained 14 pro-democracy figures on Saturday, consisting of Democratic Party creator Martin Lee, rights attorney Albert Ho and media magnate Jimmy Lai, for “illegal assembly” in connection with mass street demonstrations in 2015.
Martin Lee is thought about the grandpa of the Hong Kong democracy motion, while Lai owns the Apple Daily, the most significant professional democracy media organization in the city.
The group were detained in a collaborated raid on Saturday, simply days after Beijing dismissed a provision in the city’s Basic Law proscribing Chinese federal government departments from interfering in the city’s everyday life.
The U.K.-based rights group Hong Kong Watch stated the arrests were “politically motivated.”
” The politically determined arrests of 14 of the most popular democracy advocates in Hong Kong … represents a collective effort by the Chinese Communist Party to utilize the world’s concentrate on the COVID-19 pandemic to strangle dissent in the city,” the group stated in a declaration on Saturday
It stated the group of popular activists and former pro-democracy legislators were detained under the city’s Public Order Regulation, which permits police to explain public demonstrations as “unlawful assemblies” at will, and after that arrest people for participating in them.
The practice has actually regularly been explained by the United Nations as a clear breach of human rights, it stated.
Hong Kong police superintendent Lam Wing-ho validated that 14 people aged in between 24 and 81 were detained on charges of arranging and taking part in “unlawful assemblies” on Aug. 18 and Oct. 1 and 20 in 2015, however declined to call any of the arrestees.
‘ Now I have actually lastly end up being an accused.’
Martin Lee, who was launched on bail on Saturday, stated he had no remorses.
“Over the years and months, I have actually felt bad to see many exceptional children being detained and prosecuted, however I was not charged,” Lee informed reporters. “Now I have actually lastly end up being an accused.”
” I’m happy to have the chance to stroll our democracy roadway with Hong Kong’s outstanding young people,” he stated.
The arrestees stand implicated of arranging a tranquil march on Aug. 18, 2019 versus strategies by Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam to enable extradition of supposed criminal suspects to mainland China that saw 1.7 million people require to the city’s streets.
Pro-democracy figures Yeung Amount, Sin Chung-kai, Lee Cheuk-yan, veteran social activist Leung Kwok-hung, referred to as “Long Hair,” former legislators Au Nok-hin and Cyd Ho, march organizer Figo Chan and rights activists Raphael Wong, Avery Ng and Richard Tsoi were likewise detained, together with lawyer Margaret Ng.
Some charges likewise associated with rallies hung on Oct. 1 and Oct. 20, 2019.
Democratic legislator Claudia Mo stated the federal government is attempting “to present a reign of horror in Hong Kong.”
” They are doing whatever they can to attempt to silence, to remove, the regional opposition,” Mo informed RTHK.
Civic Party legislator Alvin Yeung stated the authorities are exacting political vengeance on the demonstration motion while the remainder of the world is concentrated on the coronavirus pandemic.
” The Hong Kong federal government is making mass arrests at a time when legislators … are consolidated epidemic avoidance work and its financing plan,” Yeung stated.
” Everybody else in Hong Kong is combating the coronavirus pandemic, and they’re making postponed vengeance arrests? We see what you’re doing,” he stated.
Another action towards ‘burying handover terms
Lots of fans and members of the Confederation of Trade Unions ( CTU), Labour Party and League of Social Democrats objected outside Cheung Sha Wan police headquarters, where a few of the arrestees were taken, federal government broadcaster RTHK reported.
The U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office stated it was seeing the cases carefully.
” The right to serene demonstration is basic to Hong Kong’s method of life,” it stated in a declaration, mentioning the 1984 Sino-British Joint Statement and the city’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, as legal defense for those rights.
” It is necessary that any demonstrations are carried out quietly, which the authorities prevent actions that irritate stress,” it stated.
Lord Patten of Barnes, the last British guv of Hong Kong, stated China had actually taken another action towards “burying” the regards to the 1997 handover of Hong Kong.
” The arrest of a few of the most prominent leaders over years of the campaign for democracy and the guideline of law in Hong Kong is an unmatched attack on the worths which have actually underpinned Hong Kong’s lifestyle for many years,” Patten stated.
” This is not the guideline of law. This is what authoritarian federal governments do,” he stated, including that Beijing was figured out to “throttle Hong Kong”
Former U.K. foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind stated the arrests were an “appalling attack” on the guideline of law in Hong Kong.
” I understand a few of them personally and I understand these people are not radicals or ‘rioters’, they are highly-respected worldwide prominent facility political leaders understood for their dedication to the guideline of law and fundamental flexibilities,” Rifkind stated.
Reported by Wong Lok-to for RFA’s Cantonese Service. Equated and modified by Luisetta Mudie.
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