Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong arrested on suspicion of unauthorised assembly participation

Hong Kong Free Press, 24 September 2020

Below is an article published by Hong Kong Free Press. Photo Studio Incendo

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has been arrested on suspicion of taking part in an unauthorised assembly on October 5 last year and violating a mask ban, according to a post from his official Twitter account. It occurred while he was reporting to the Central Police Station at around 1 pm on Thursday.

In a rare move, the Hong Kong government invoked a colonial-era emergency law on October 4, 2019, to ban the wearing of masks at demonstrations following months of citywide unrest. Thousands gathered in almost every district the next day to protest the measure, including Wong, 23.

Veteran activist Koo Sze-yiu of the League of Social Democrats has also been arrested on suspicion of participating in an unauthorised assembly that day, his party colleagues confirmed.

The Court of Appeal in April declared the government had the right to enact the controversial anti-mask law, partially overturning a ruling from the High Court last November that found the ban restricted fundamental rights. After the coronavirus outbreak, the government made mask-wearing mandatory in all public places including on transport and outdoors.

Speaking outside the police facility at around 4.30 pm, Wong confirmed his arrest. He said officers showed him material from broadcasters RTHKTVBTTV News and New Tang Dynasty Television as evidence of his participation in the unauthorised assembly.

“With the chilling effect generated by the Beijing authorities, it is the third case that I need to face already since last June [when] I left prison,” he said. “They can prosecute us, they can arrest us, they can lock us up in prison, but they can’t censor our commitment to [continuing] to fight for freedom.”

He is due to appear in Eastern Magistrates’ Court in Sai Wan Ho on September 30 at 2:30 pm, on the eve of China’s National Day.