Serial Hong Kong pro-democracy activist “Grandma Wong” remained in police custody on Monday, close to 24-hours after she was arrested for turning up alone to mark a cancelled march to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.
Alexandra Wong, 65, was apprehended in Wan Chai on Sunday, after she attempted to march to the China Liaison Office with a yellow umbrella and a placard in her hands that read: “June 4th Tiananmen lament.”
The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China had originally organised a march from Wan Chai to the office of the Chinese authorities in the city’s Sai Ying Pun district to mark 32 years since Beijing clamped down on a student-led democracy movement.
But the police objected to the event last Thursday citing Covid-19 restrictions and the organisers decided to call the march off following a rejection of their appeal last Saturday. Police also cited the pandemic in banning the annual large-scale candlelight vigil in Victoria Park for the second successive year.
In response to HKFP’s enquiries, police said Wong held placards and chanted slogans outside a ballcourt on Hennessy Road, Wan Chai at around 3 pm on Sunday. Officers gave her a verbal warning and the activist refused to cooperate, the force said.
Wong was arrested for allegedly attempting to incite others to participate in an unauthorised assembly and knowingly taking part in an unauthorised assembly. The activist remained in custody on Monday afternoon as investigations by the force’s Hong Kong Island Public Order Event Investigation team continued.
Wong has often been seen outside courts in Hong Kong waving a large Union Jack to show support for pro-democracy figures and activists facing prosecution. She was also frequently spotted at the anti-extradition bill protests in 2019, before disappearing in August that year.
On her return to Hong Kong last October, the activist, said she had been held in detention in Shenzhen, where she then lived, for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” She then “awaited trial on bail” for a year, according to former legislator Eddie Chu, who assisted Wong when she returned to the city.
Wong has been arrested several times for alleged offences before, during and after protests which rocked the city in 2019.
The Public Order Ordinance states that to constitute an unauthorised assembly, the gathering should have three or more persons involved. Any person convicted on indictment of knowingly taking part in an unauthorised assembly can face up to five years behind bars.
Update 1/6/2021: Alexandra Wong was released by police without charge by Monday evening. The force said they reserved the right to charge Wong.