The leader of localist group Hong Kong Indigenous Ray Wong Toi-yeung, who had fallen off the radar following his participation in the Mong Kok unrest earlier this month, has been arrested. The group confirmed the news on their Facebook page on Sunday.

“He is now in Tin Shui Wai Police Station and we have arranged for a lawyer to follow up on the matter,” the statement read.

Ray Wong facing the police at the Mong Kok protest.
Ray Wong facing the police at the Mong Kok protest. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

“We would also like to remind all protesters to pay more attention to the personal safety of yourselves and your comrades. If you require any assistance, please contact us immediately and we will do our best,” it said.

Tin Shui Wai hideout 

Sources cited by Ming Pao and Oriental Daily said that Wong had been hiding in an apartment in Tin Ching Estate, Tin Shui Wai that did not belong to him. The police received a tip and broke into the apartment, arresting Wong and another man after the pair refused to open the door and cooperate. The police also seized evidence from the apartment.

Ray Wong speaking at the Mong Kok protest.
Ray Wong speaking at the Mong Kok protest. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Wong may have been arrested in connection with his participation in the Mong Kok protests which broke out over the government’s clearing of street hawkers earlier this month. He was seen on the frontlines during the protest, standing on a minivan rallying demonstrators with a loudspeaker.

Prior to the arrest, his whereabouts were unknown. Wong disappeared after leaving a “final message” online last Thursday, in which he said: “Rather be a shattered vessel of jade than an unbroken piece of pottery,” a Chinese saying which bears a similar meaning to “It is better to burn out than to fade away.” He also said that he was unsure what would happen to him.

Three hours after the message was posted, Hong Kong Indigenous posted on its Facebook page that police officers had gathered around the flat and building where Wong lived. Sing Tao Daily also reported that a group of plainclothes officers visited Wong’s home in Tseung Kwan O on Thursday night but could not find him.

Leung granted bail

Meanwhile, another Hong Kong Indigenous member, Edward Leung Tin-kei, was also arrested on February 9 for taking part in the Mong Kok clashes. He and others who stood in court have been granted bail and are temporarily banned from Mong Kok. He is running as a candidate in the Legislative Council by-election next Sunday.

Leung held a rally in Sha Tin on Saturday evening. It was attended by 600 to 700 people, according to estimates by Ming Pao reporters.

Hong Kong Indigenous is a localist group founded after the Occupy protests in 2014. They say they want to break away from old resistance methods and uphold indigenous Hong Kong values.

While localist groups support democracy, they are better known for their anti-communist stance and close association with movements promoting the expansion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and independence.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.