Four men were arrested Friday for allegedly damaging the props of pro-democracy activists during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit earlier this month.

The incident took place near Wan Chai MTR station on July 1, as Demosisto activist Joshua Wong and others from the League of Social Democrats attempted to protest at the 7am flag raising ceremony in the Golden Bauhinia Square.

The activists were unable to proceed with their protest owing to obstruction by dozens of pro-Beijing counter protesters.

A counter protester leaves the scene. Photo: League of Social Democrats, via Facebook.

Demosisto said the activists were “attacked” by the pro-Beijing group. Their props were also damaged during the chaos.

Around 20 activists – including Wong, Avery Ng and “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung – were taken away by police following the scuffles. Some of them were handcuffed but all were released in Admiralty afterwards.

Police told HKFP that officers intervened immediately and arrested three men on the scene for alleged common assault. Two of them were also suspected of criminal damage.

Police held down a protester. Photo: League of Social Democrats.

On Friday, four more men aged 36 to 55 were arrested on suspicion of damaging the props. Police said they would not rule out further arrests.

A police spokesperson said some of those arrested were suspected to be linked to triads. Police are investigating their motives and whether they belong to the same triad group.

The force condemned the incident and said it was “highly concerned” over the case.

“Police will not tolerate violence or behaviour that disrupts public order. If there is any illegal act, police will enforce the law resolutely and handle each case impartially, fairly and without regard to the background of the parties,” the spokesperson said.

After the incident in early July, the League of Social Democrats’ Avery Ng and Figo Chan alleged that officers assaulted them in a police vehicle after they were removed from the scene.

Photo: HKFP/Karen Cheung.

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They said police inflicted injuries on their arms and lower back. The pair later reported the incident to police.

Ellie Ng

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.