Hong Kong police have arrested an elderly pro-democracy activist on suspicion of breaching country park regulations, after he displayed a pair of Chinese banners on the Lion Rock ahead of Mid-Autumn festival. Chinese couplets are vertical scrolls showing lines of poetry, often around doorways.
Chan Ki-kau – in his 70s and known as “Grandpa Chan” of a 2019 protest group called Protect Our Kids – was apprehended in Sheung Shui on Thursday, police said. The arrest came after police noticed reports online that a man had displayed signs on Lion Rock on September 28.
A picture on Chan’s Facebook page showed him on Lion Rock holding two scrolls with a Chinese couplet penned by Chinese writer Lu Xun, according to a photo shared by local media outlets. The couplet can be translated as “fierce-browed, I coolly defy a thousand pointing fingers. Head bowed like a willing ox, I serve the children.”
Chan was suspected of violating the Country Parks and Special Areas Regulations. The regulations state that visitors cannot display signs, notices, posters, banners or advertisements in places under the regulations unless they have permission.
Offenders face a fine of up to HK$2,000 and three years imprisonment.
The photo could not be found on his Facebook page when HKFP checked on Sunday afternoon, but a shot that appeared to show Chan was distributed elsewhere online.
He was released on bail and must report back to police in early November.
The activist was often spotted urging calm on the frontlines of demonstrations in 2019, when the city saw protests and unrest sparked by a controversial extradition bill. He also took part in a hunger strike during the early days of the movement.
In January, Chan was ordered to pay around HK$510,000 to the Department of Justice after his application to launch a legal bid against the police over their display of identification during the 2019 protests was dismissed by court.
Chan’s challenge alleged that it was unlawful for police in the Special Tactical Contingent unit, known as “raptors,” to be allowed not to display individual identification numbers while policing.
Correction 4 pm on 9/10/2023: An earlier version of this article incorrectly gave Chan Ki-kau’s age as 76 and 79, we regret the error.
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