Two pro-Hong Kong MPs, along with 14 other Hong Kongers, have been arrested for their involvement in last year’s large-scale protests against Chinese influence in the region. Both men are part of the pro-democracy party in the region.
Councilor Lam Cheuk-ting is suspected of riots and vandalism at a train station Yuen Long, his spokespersons report. On the day of the mass protest, Lam and other protesters there were attacked by masked groups, injuring dozens of people, including the Member of Parliament himself.
His presence would have been “provocative”, according to the news agency Reuters based on a spokesperson for Lam.
The incident took place in July 2019 and was captured on video. The police were blamed for not being able to protect their own population at the time. Lam, along with other victims, filed a complaint against the local police boss.
So far 44 people held responsible for the attack have been arrested. An official criminal investigation is ongoing against seven of them.
Next wave of arrest since China increased influence in region
Member of Parliament Ted Hui Chi-fung is suspected of thwarting justice and “conducting criminal activities online” during mass protests on July 6, 2019.
The 16 arrests are yet another wave of arrests in the region since China passed a controversial security law in late June. This will allow Beijing to take tougher action against opposition politicians and activists. Some of them have since fled the region.
Many countries subsequently suspended the extradition treaty with Hong Kong, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United States. The latter country also ended Hong Kong’s preferential treatment, wiping out economic benefits, and imposed sanctions on leader Carrie Lam.
Amnesty International condemns arrests
Two weeks ago, media tycoon Jimmy Lai and dozens of other protesters were arrested on suspicion of conspiring with foreign powers. Lai is the founder of the newspaper Apple Daily and was one of the first prominent pro-democratic activists to be arrested by security forces. He was released on bail two days later.
Amnesty International has condemned the waves of arrest. “It is the latest example showing that the Hong Kong government is using the new law to prosecute dissidents,” writes The Guardian based on the human rights organization.