All 26 pro-democracy protesters who scaled Hong Kong’s symbolic Golden Bauhinia statue on Wednesday evening have been released, but some have alleged being followed by unknown individuals as they returned home.
The protesters from Demosisto, League of Social Democrats, People Power and Student Fight For Democracy had been arrested for causing a public nuisance, after staging a sit-in at the Wanchai tourist site on the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s arrival in Hong Kong.
But over a dozen prominent activists including Leung Kwok-hung, Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow were held at the North Point police station for over 24 hours. Wong speculated that police were trying to detain them for 48 hours – the maximum duration without the court’s approval – before sending them to court.
That way, he said, police would be able to stop them participating in the annual July 1 democracy march on Saturday.
On Thursday night, their lawyers filed an application to the High Court for a habeas corpus order to secure their release, which had been scheduled to be heard on Friday morning.
See also: ‘Political intimidation’: 17 democracy activists still in custody 24hrs after protest against Xi Jinping
However, in the early hours of Friday, all the remaining activists were released one by one.
‘They don’t look like Hong Kong police’
As the League of Social Democrats’ Avery Ng returned home in the morning, he alleged on Facebook that he was being followed by a grey seven-seater car, which stopped below his Mei Foo apartment. Several men inside then alighted.
“They don’t look like Hong Kong police,” said Ng. “They look very out of fashion – more like mainland security agents.”
When he approached the men, they refused to answer who they were.
See also: 3 arrested over localist graffiti, another for carrying ‘weapons’ amid Xi Jinping’s Hong Kong tour
The League of Social Democrats posted another Facebook video showing that released member Figo Chan was also being followed and filmed outside the Government Headquarters the same morning.
Three men accused of being associated with instances of localist graffiti in Kowloon were also arrested on Thursday, as was localist internet celebrity Nakade Hitsujiko, who was accused of carrying offensive weapons.