Two prominent lawmakers were arrested last night, bringing the tally of pro-democracy figures rounded up by police in the past 36 hours to at least eight.
RTHK reports that at 10pm on Friday night, Democratic Party lawmaker Au Nok-hin was arrested at 10pm in Kwun Tong for allegedly assaulting and obstructing a police officer during a protest on July 8. According to Apple Daily, the lawmaker was accused of assaulting the officer with a megaphone that was “too loud,” hurting the officer’s ears.
The outlet reported that Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam — who recently quit his job as a Cathay Pacific pilot — was also arrested last night for allegedly obstructing a police officer. The accusation was related to the same protest as Au’s, one in which a march from Tsim Sha Tsui went off peacefully, but after which hardcore elements blocked roads and clashed with police in Mong Kok.
Although neither are leading figures in the ongoing anti-government protest movement — which has been a largely grassroots effort — both have been very visible on the frontlines of protests trying to diffuse tensions between police and protesters.
Both were seen in Mong Kok on the night in question, arguing with police over what they said was their excessive use of force. In a statement the following day, police claimed the pair “seriously obstructed” their work.
Their arrests come after police rounded up at least six other prominent pro-democracy activists yesterday, including Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow who were released on bail following a court appearance yesterday afternoon.
Wong and Chow accused police of arresting so many pro-democracy activists in a bid to scare people away from protesting.
Other prominent pro-democracy or pro-independence figures to have been arrested include fellow lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai, district councillor Rick Hui, Hong Kong National Party founder Andy Chan, and former Hong kong University Student’s Union President Althea Suen.
Police at a press briefing yesterday afternoon dismissed allegations that the arrests of so many prominent activists was a deliberate message after the force controversially banned a planned rally in Causeway Bay that was due to take place this afternoon.