Two Democratic Party lawmakers have been arrested in connection to last year’s pro-democracy protests.
Lam Cheuk-ting was arrested at around 6am on Wednesday on suspicion of rioting during the Yuen Long mob attack last July, as well as conspiring with other persons to destroy or damage property and perverting the course of justice last July 6, according to his official Facebook page. Lam was reportedly taken to Sha Tin police station.
Local media cited sources as saying that 16 people were arrested in the operation overall. 13 of the arrests were reportedly linked to the Yuen Long MTR incident where over 100 rod-wielding men indiscriminately attacked passengers, journalists and protesters.
Another lawmaker from the party, Ted Hui, was also arrested on Wednesday morning and taken to Western Police Station in connection to the July 6 “Reclaim Tuen Mun Park” protest. Demonstrators were rallying against performers accused of causing a disturbance in the neighbourhood. The scene escalated later in the evening as hundreds gathered outside the local police station with officers deploying pepper spray.
‘A chilling effect’
Democratic Party chair Wu Chi-wai condemned the arrests on Wednesday and said they were arbitrary: “The prosecution is ‘calling a deer a horse’ and twisting right and wrong,” adding that Hui and Lam were in Tuen Mun Park to mediate disputes as councillors, as widely reported by local media.
He also told the press that Lam was a victim who was injured in the Yuen Long attack, and the police force turned a blind eye to footage that documented the incident: “The government is using the legal system and police agency as tools to suppress dissident voices and opinions… The authorities are not credible and they showed no intention to mend the social cleavage. They abuse their powers to create a chilling effect…”
James To – another lawmaker from the party – deemed the arrests “political persecution and political revenge.”
Meanwhile, NGO Amnesty International tweeted: “A fresh round of mass arrest of pro-democracy activists today is the latest example of how the Hong Kong government is weaponizing the law to persecute dissidents.”