A student leader was arrested on Wednesday night for allegedly participating in unlawful assembly in a protest against an impending Basic Law interpretation by Beijing two months ago. Ten have been arrested in connection with the protest so far.

Cheng Pui-lun, the president of Lingnan University’s student union, was arrested at the airport at 8:30pm when he returned to Hong Kong from a trip in Japan. His union said in a social media post that he was brought to his home, where police conducted a search. He was then transferred to the Western Police Station before being released on bail at 1:30am Thursday.

Cheng’s arrest came after the arrests of nine other people who allegedly participated in the protest on the night of November 6 last year. At the time, Demosisto, the League of Social Democrats, the Labour Party and Student Fight for Democracy organised a protest outside the China Liaison Office after a march opposing the impending Basic Law interpretation by Beijing.

Police near the China Liaison Office. Photo: HKFP/Kris Cheng.

Protesters stayed on the road near the building of China’s official organ in Hong Kong for hours until police gradually pushed them away.

According to the police, the Crime Hong Kong Island Region, working with the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, arrested ten men aged between 17 and 29. They are suspected of unlawful assembly, disorder in public places, and possession of offensive weapons.

Seven were arrested early Wednesday – some were taken from their homes at 6am. Those arrested include Derek Lam Shun-hin and Ivan Lam Long-yin of the Demosisto party; Dickson Chau Ka-faat and Chan Man-wai of the League of Social Democrats; and Sammy Ip and Lo Tak-cheong of the group Student Fight for Democracy. A 17-year-old student was also arrested.

Dickson Chau and Sammy Ip. Photo: League of Social Democrats.

Chan Man-wai, Dickson Chau and Sammy Ip were not at home when the police arrived. Chan voluntarily reported to the Sham Shui Po police station, whilst Chau and Ip voluntarily reported to the Wan Chai police headquarters on Wednesday afternoon.

Derek Lam, Ivan Lam, Chan Man-wai and Lo Tak-cheong were released on bail for HK$1,000 each on Wednesday afternoon.

The police also arrested two other people on Wednesday. The pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao paper cited sources as saying that the two were Pun Wan-tong, who was active during the 2014 pro-democracy occupy protests, and Wong Ka-ho, a pro-democracy activist who ran in the 2015 District Council election in the North District but lost.

Ivan Lam said the arrests were “mass scale revenge” ahead of an upcoming court case that the government filed to disqualify four lawmakers after the Basic Law interpretation.

“It is very likely that the government was telling the public through these arrests: do not resist during the judicial review,” he said. “But we will not be afraid, we will not back down.”

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.