Two student activists were arrested on Friday and accused of publicizing an unauthorized assembly to mark the anniversary of a major protest, with police describing their social media posts as encouraging violent resistance.
Wong Yat-chin, the 20-year-old convener of a group called Student Politicism, along with 19-year-old group spokesperson Alice Wong, were arrested days after the group’s social media pages announced plans to set up a street information booth in Mong Kok on June 12 this year. That date marks two years since large-scale clashes between demonstrators and police outside the Legislative Council.
This is Wong’s second arrest in a week. He was also arrested on June 4 and accused of disorderly conduct at another street information booth in Mong Kok.
Police superintendent Tam Wai-shun, speaking to reporters on Friday evening, said police had noticed social media posts encouraging Hongkongers to participate in unauthorized assemblies on June 12.
Tam showed screenshots of other posts from Student Politicism’s Facebook and Instagram pages, which used phrases such as “armed resistance” and euphemisms such as “fire magic” to describe people throwing petrol bombs.
Several of the social media posts were posted months earlier, in May and February this year, prompting reporters to ask about their relevance to the arrests.
Tam declined to explain each post in detail, saying only that they promoted the use of violence. He later said the posts shown in the police press conference were not the only pieces of evidence against those arrested, but it was not convenient to disclose more.
When asked whether holding street stations – sidewalk information booths – was no longer allowed, the police responded that Student Politicism were not simply holding street stations, but were encouraging others to participate in unlawful assemblies and inciting violence.
The pair’s arrest for publicising unauthorized assemblies comes a week after June 4 vigil organizer Chow Hang-tung was arrested on the same charge, on the morning of June 4 before the banned event was due to begin.
Meanwhile, pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow is scheduled for release on June 12, after being sentenced in December to 10 months in prison for her role in the siege of police headquarters in June 2019.
Chow, who was previously a member of Joshua Wong’s now-disbanded group Demosisto, will be released without any special security arrangements, according to a report in the Ming Pao tabloid. However, the paper said that the police will send a media liaison person in anticipation of a large number of reporters being present when Chow leaves the prison.
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