Police fined a dozen people for violating Covid-19 social distancing orders on Friday as they held a street booth in support of the 12 local fugitives being held in mainland China. Members of activist group Student Politicism and district councillors Katrina Chan, Ronald Tse and Super Leung Kwok-Ho were among those gathered near t.mark mall in Tsuen Wan.
The “Hong Kong 12” – who were facing charges related to the recent pro-democracy protests and unrest – were detained by mainland authorities in August after trying to flee by speedboat to Taiwan. On Friday, the campaigners handed out transparent cards printed with the names of the detainees as part of a social media campaign. Their booth exhibited photos from Hong Kong protests last year.
A group of about 20 uniformed police officers cordoned off the area at about 5 pm and handed out penalty tickets to seven people for violating social distancing orders. Two individuals were searched, Stand News reported. Police returned shortly afterwards and issued another six tickets. Gatherings with over four individuals are currently banned in Hong Kong under coronavirus guidelines.
Student Policism leader Wong Yat-Tsin was fined twice along with three district councillors.
Cheung Chau councilor Leung Kwok-Ho wrote that that police issued fines without prior warning nor communication. He said he was alone at the time and was about to leave when police made him remain within the cordoned area.
320,000 join online rally
In recent weeks, activists from around 30 different locations around the world held rallies in support of the fugitives. A campaign ended on Sunday with a virtual rally organised by the “Save 12 Hong Kong Youths” concern group. It was live-streamed on four Facebook channels and saw a total of 320,000 views on Sunday, Apple Daily reported.
“The Hong Kong and mainland communist parties blatantly conspired to send Hongkongers to China,” said activist Owen Chow in the opening statement, in reference to activists’ claims that the local authorities knowingly allowed the 12 to stray into Chinese waters. “China’s authoritarianism is in expansion. It has repeatedly employed hostage diplomacy,” he added.
Chow called on the Chinese government to release the 12 and allow them access to medical and legal support. He also called on foreign governments to express their concern to Beijing through official channels.
A father of one of the detainees, Cheng Tsz-Ho, said at the event that he felt compelled to speak out in public after realising his son was assigned a government lawyer indicating that his detention was considered to be political in nature.
The virtual event also featured activist Joshua Wong and ex-lawmaker Eddie Chu.
The group has been detained for over two months. One of the fugitives, Andy Li, has been charged under the Beijing-enacted national security law.
They are being held in Yantian District Detention Center in Shenzhen, local media reported.