Several pro democratic lawmakers arrested in Hong Kong over legislature protest

WION Web Team
Hong Kong, China Published: Nov 01, 2020, 08.46 AM(IST)

Arrests in Hong Kong Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Seven lawmakers -- Wu Chi Wai, Andrew Wan, Helena Wong, Kwok Wing Kin, Eddie Chu, Raymond Chan and Fernando Cheung -- announced their arrests on their individual Facebook pages.

Several pro-democratic lawmakers were arrested in Hong Kong on Sunday on charges related to obstructing a legislative council meeting in May.

Seven lawmakers -- Wu Chi Wai, Andrew Wan, Helena Wong, Kwok Wing Kin, Eddie Chu, Raymond Chan and Fernando Cheung -- announced their arrests on their individual Facebook pages.

The arrests took place early in the morning. The move comes after Beijing passed a contentious security law in June.

The arrests, however, did not appear to be directly linked to the law but come as police have arrested around 30 under the legislation in recent months.

The said national security law punishes what Beijing broadly defines as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.

On May 8, confrontations broke out in a committee that decides which bills come up for debate. The opposition had used months of filibustering to stop the appointment of the committee's leader. The pro-Beijing camp responded by forcibly installing one of their politicians to the committee chair.

That prompted angry scenes and protests in the chamber with lawmakers from both sides displaying placards amid boisterous heckling and physical obstruction.

Security guards and pro-Beijing lawmakers eventually dragged most of the pro-democracy politicians from the chamber and the installation of the committee chair went ahead. One pro-Beijing politician was seen on a live broadcast dragging an opponent out by his shirt collar -- an incident which has sparked an ongoing private prosecution.

Sunday's police action singled out the pro-democracy politicians for arrest and is the latest in a string of prosecutions launched against Beijing critics. 

Beijing imposed the national security law on its freest city on June 30.

China says the law has restored stability. Critics -- mainly the West and human rights groups -- say it represents the latest move by Beijing to tighten its grip over the former British colony and erode its judicial independence.

(with inputs)

Read in App