The convenor of the pro-independence group Student Localism has been arrested on charges of criminal damage.

Tony Chung was arrested on Wednesday for damaging the national flag at the Legislative Council protest zone last Tuesday. Police alleged that the 18-year-old snatched a flag being held by another protester, resulting in the flag being detached from its pole and the pole breaking in half.

Tony Chung Hon-lam
Tony Chung Hon-lam and a stock image of a handheld flag. Photo: HKFP.

Chung was taken away from his Yuen Long home at 8am and transferred to the Central Police District Headquarters. He was granted bail for HK$500 at around 3:45pm and will need to report back on June 21, Student Localism said on a Facebook post.

The police were also looking for two more suspects – a man and a woman aged around 40 to 50 of Chinese ethnicity.

Earlier this month, independence activists were among the thousands protesting the extradition bill outside the legislature. The incident of alleged flag-snatching took place on the same day that pro-democracy and pro-Beijing lawmakers clashed inside the Legislative Council halls.

Chung also made headlines when Taiwan authorities said he was monitored during a trip to the island by ex-police officers from Hong Kong.

january 1 rally independence flag
Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Hong Kong’s pro-independence movement has been at a low ebb after the Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) became the first organisation to be banned under the Societies Ordinance last year.

Nevertheless, Chung had reportedly decided to set up a new pro-independence party which aimed to recruit more than just students, and was expected to go public next month.

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Holmes Chan

Holmes Chan

Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.