Eight people, including pro-independence activist Andy Chan, have been arrested after Hong Kong police raided an industrial building in Fo Tan. In response, hundreds gathered at two police stations overnight to protest against the police and call for the release of those arrested.
According to Assistant District Commander (Crime) of the Sha Tin district Sam Chan, officers stopped four men at around 9pm on Thursday as they were pushing a cart that contained supplies in a car park. Police arrested the men after finding two baseball bats, a bag of ball bearings, protective gear, helmets, masks, communication equipment and megaphones.
Police then found a set of keys on one of the arrestees, and searched a flat at the Haribest Industrial Building and arrested three men and one woman inside – one of whom was independence advocate Andy Chan. Police found two bows and six arrows inside the flat, as well as a suspected petrol bomb, materials for petrol bombs and oils containing cannabis-derived substances.
The eight people, who ranged from 24 to 31 years old, were arrested on suspicion of possessing offensive weapons. Those arrested inside the flat were also suspected of possessing explosives without a licence and contravening the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance.
Police said the objects seized were commonly seen at recent protests, and they suspected the people arrested to be involved in violent clashes.
Chan is the founder of the now-banned Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), which was the first society to be prohibited under the Societies Ordinance since the 1997 handover.
At around 11pm, large crowds gathered outside Sha Tin police station and began building barricades around entrances. Protesters shouted, “Release the [arrestees]” and “Hong Kong police knowingly break the law.” Protesters moved to Ma On Shan police station at around 1am after learning the suspects were held there.
The police stations closed their metal shutters but protesters tried to pry them open. Some also vandalised the building’s exterior and took down the words “Ma On Shan Police Station.”
Police deployed officers in riot gear to clear the crowds, and protesters dispersed around 3:15am.
After meeting with Chan at 4am, the activist’s lawyer issued a statement on his behalf: “Don’t fear white terror, don’t be afraid of being arrested. There is only the path ahead, and no turning back.”