Police arrested 15 pro-democracy representatives Saturday on charges of organizing, participating in or inspiring illegal assemblies, according to the security office.
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Arrests include representatives and historical figures such as the 81-year-old Martin Lee, nicknamed the “Father of Democracy”, founder of the Democratic Party, a former member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong between 1985 and 1997 and from 1998 to 2008, and also remembered for his contribution in drafting the Basic Law of Hong Kong. In 1989 he was expelled from the Basic Law commission for condemning the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.
Other arrests include the president of the League of Social Democrats Raphael Wong, vice president Leung Kwok-hung, secretary-general Avery Ng and vice coordinator of the civilian human rights front Figo Chan, Albert Ho, former secretary of the Democratic Party, Lee Cheuk-yan of the Labor Party, Yeung Sum of the Democratic Party, Au Nok-hin, Richard Tsoi, the chairman of the district council of Kwai Tsing Sin Chung-kai and Cyd Ho of the Labor party, Margaret Ng of the Civic Party.
Pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai was arrested around 1:00 pm on his way back to his home.
1/ It is crazy for #hkpolice to arrest the 81-yo veteran democrat #MartinLee, the Father of Democracy. He is the one who helped draft #HK’s basic law under #1country2systems. For almost 40 years, he has been promoting democracy and human rights in #HongKong. pic.twitter.com/d6eJWTqRpd— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) April 18, 2020
According to the League of Social Democrats, the arrests are linked to the demonstrations that took place on 18 August and 1 October 2019.
Vice President of the League of Social Democrats and coordinator of the Civil Human Rights Front Jimmy Sham said the arrests showed that the government oppressed the demonstrators indiscriminately: “[The police] arrested peaceful, rational and nonviolent activists including Martin Lee and Yeung Sum from the Democratic Party … They are indiscriminately oppressing the peaceful and valiant citizens of Hong Kong. The Hong Kongers will continue to resist, peacefully and valiantly undivided. “
This is not the rule of law. This is what authoritarian governments do. It becomes ever more clear, week by week and day by day, that Beijing is determined to throttle Hong Kong. The world should make clear how this further undermines any residual trust that we still have in the Chinese Communist dictatorship,’ says ex-governor Chris Patten.
The pro-government group Defend Hong Kong instead gathered outside Cheung Sha Wan police station to celebrate the arrests and to praise the police force’s action with bottles of champagne.
A very dark day in Hong Kong with arrests of some of the territory’s most prominent pro-democracy figures https://t.co/wAbtVlWR9L— Gady Epstein (@gadyepstein) April 18, 2020
Source: Hong Kong Free Press