Activist Max Chung has been arrested for organising an unlawful assembly after he was denied permission by the police to hold an anti-mob violence protest in Yuen Long on Saturday.
Chung was taken away by officers after attending an RTHK televised City Forum programme in Causeway Bay on Sunday. He was taken to the Tai Po police station.
The police sought legal permission to search his homes in Yuen Long and Mong Kok, according to a friend who was assisting him.
Michael Mo, who applied for the approval of the protest with Chung, said the police were taking advantage of a loophole in the current public assembly notification mechanism, and creating a chilling effect.
“The Hong Kong police force is twisting the current ‘no-objection’ mechanism into an application-based one. Such a change amounts to the implementation of martial law, as the Hong Kong police force used – and is likely to continue using – various excuses which are unrelated to the intended protests to entirely slash all public processions against the current administration,” he said.
Chung was the person who initially applied for the letter of no objection for the Yuen Long protest, but the march was banned by the police. A subsequent appeal was filed but it was rejected by a board as well.
After the ban, Chung has said that he would march by himself on Saturday, but he would not urge others to join.
“This is not a protest. I am just telling you my personal activity,” he told reporters. “For now, I will not tell others to join my personal walk.”
He repeated the same claim when he appeared in Yuen Long on Saturday.
Despite police warning that protesters could be arrested for participating in the protest, thousands flooded Yuen Long’s main roads. Some threw objects at the police during standoffs.
The police then used tear gas, rubber bullets and sponge grenades to disperse the crowd.
As crowds retreated into the station, riot police and police tactical unit officers stormed in and baton-charged activists. The officers pushed demonstrators towards the paid area, cornering several unarmed people.
At least 12 were arrested on the scene. At least 23 people were injured.