A 53-year-old woman has been arrested for allegedly obstructing police officers after she refused to show her identity card outside Victoria Park, the site where annual candlelight vigils for victims of the Tiananmen crackdown were once held, on the 34th anniversary of the crackdown.
Additionally, 11 men and 12 women, aged 20 to 74, were taken from Causeway Bay on Sunday for further investigation on suspicion of breaching the peace, according to the police.
Prominent activists and a journalist were among those taken into police custody, including Tsui Hon-kwong, who was among the organisers of the Tiananmen vigils, unionist Leo Tang, chairperson of pro-democracy group the League of Social Democrats (LSD), Chan Po-ying, and former head of the Hong Kong Journalists Association.
Tang, who was wearing a T-shirt printed with the front page of state-controlled newspaper Wen Wei Po published on June 5, 1989, posted on Facebook, to say he had been taken to Wan Chai Police Station but was released without charge later night.
HKFP spoke to an onlooker outside Victoria Park on Sunday night who saw a middle-aged woman being stopped and searched by the police after displaying a photo of a candle on her phone near the entrance of the park.
The woman was carried onto a police car by a group of police officers, screaming “I want to go home” and “will every June 4 be like this,” after attempting to leave the scene, a HKFP reporter observed.
All four people arrested on the eve of the anniversary of the crackdown, including a 50-year-old woman surnamed Lau, a 51 year-old man surnamed Kwan, a 54 year-old woman surnamed Lee and a 60 year-old man surnamed Chan, were released on bail, the police told HKFP on Monday
The Tiananmen crackdown occurred on June 4, 1989 ending months of student-led demonstrations in China. It is estimated that hundreds, perhaps thousands, died when the People’s Liberation Army cracked down on protesters in Beijing.
UN Human Rights Office ‘alarmed’
The United Nations Human Rights Office posted on Twitter to say it was “alarmed” by reports of detentions in Hong Kong linked to the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown.
“We urge the release of anyone detained for exercising freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. We call on authorities to fully abide by obligations under International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” the post read.
A graduate student association at the National Taiwan University (NTU) held a press conference at Liberty Square in Taipei on Sunday, protesting the arrest of Tiananmen crackdown activist Lau Ka-yee in Hong Kong on Saturday.
Lau, who was a member of activist group Tiananmen Mothers and is studying at NTU, was seen wearing a T-shirt printed with a candle and the Chinese word for “truth” when she was arrested for acting with seditious intent on the eve of the crackdown anniversary.
Comparing the arrests in Victoria Park with the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989, the student association said it would solemnly protest the Hong Kong police operation, adding that it had the utmost respect for Lau.
In a statement released on Sunday night, the Security Bureau said it strongly opposed “the unfounded and false accusations” made by the association, adding that the organisation had smeared police actions.
“All law enforcement actions taken by law enforcement agencies are based on evidence, strictly according to the law and for the acts of the people or organisations concerned, and have nothing to do with their political stance or background,” the bureau said.
Beijing lashes out at US consulate
The US consulate and the office of the EU in Hong Kong displayed commemorative candles in their windows on Sunday.
Calling the gesture “a tool to echo some anti-China forces,” the Commissioner’s Office of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong said it strongly rejected and deplored “political manipulation” from the US, including the consulates general of the United States and Canada.
The office said achievements made by China showed that the path chosen by the country was “absolutely correct,” adding that a small number of external forces were obsessed with “acting as clowns to throw dirty water on China.”
“Those who play this trick are just overestimating their own strength and their plots will be consigned to the dustbin of history,” the statement read.
It urged foreign missions stationed in the city to immediately stop futile political manipulation.