Four seniors have been arrested on suspicion of “seditious intent” after displaying a banner demanding genuine universal suffrage near Mong Kok’s Broadway Cinema over the weekend. The police announced the arrests on Monday evening.

The three men and one woman, between the ages of 61 to 85, were arrested on Sai Yeung Choi Street South and detained for further investigation at around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, according to the police.

mong kok arrest universal suffrage
Photo: 民主街旺角鳩嗚團 via Facebook.

“During the period, a woman was emotional and displayed items with inciting words, which attracted at least 30 people to gather and clamour,” the statement read.

The force added that they seized a banner suspected of breaching the Beijing-enacted national security law from one of the arrested men, without specifying its content. Local media reported that a yellow umbrella – a pro-democracy symbol – was also seized.

Local media reports showed the group next to a yellow banner displaying the words “I want genuine universal suffrage,” the central slogan of the 2014 Umbrella Movement which saw thousands occupy the city’s main streets to demand wider democracy. Groups of older pro-democracy activists have held vigil regularly on Sai Yeung Choi Street South ever since the 79-day street occupations were cleared.

Two of the group were also seen wearing yellow-coloured clothing, a symbol of the city’s flagging pro-democracy movement.

admiralty hong kong democracy occupy universal suffrage umbrella movement
File photo: via C.C.2.0.

The case has been passed to the Mong Kok district’s anti-triad unit for investigation. The four have since been released on bail and must report to the police in November.

People found guilty of acting with seditious intent or saying seditious words may be fined HK$5,000 and face up to three years imprisonment under the Crimes Ordinance.

The 2014 Umbrella Movement was a  pro-democracy civil disobedience campaign originally conceived as “Occupy Central.” Thousands occupied roads around the legislature and in two other key districts following a student sit-in. Leading figures of the largely peaceful movement were jailed in the years following the police clearance.

Article 45 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong states that the chief executive should be chosen by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee as an eventual goal.

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Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.