Hong Kong Democracy Activist Joshua Wong Granted Bail After Arrest

Saturday, 31 Aug, 2019

After receiving bail, they spoke outside the court and Wong vowed to "continue our fight", railing against the "chilling effect" of the arrests on opponents of Hong Kong's Beijing-backed government. Their arrests come a day before the five-year anniversary of that decision, mirroring a common practice in China of rounding up activists before sensitive dates.

Ms Chow echoed his comments, saying: "We Hong Kong people won't give up and won't be scared ... we will keep fighting for democracy".

With protesters and authorities locked in an impasse, as Hong Kong faces its first recession in a decade, speculation has grown the city government may impose emergency law, giving it extra powers over detentions, censorship and curfews.

The request to hold Saturday's rally was denied, meaning any gathering would be illegal.

Authorities grabbed Wong and shoved him into a van while he was walking to a metro station, according to the activists' political group Demosisto, the Guardian reported.

Wong's political party Demosisto said he was pushed into a private vehicle, and then escorted to the city's police headquarters.

In addition to the withdrawal of the extradition bill, the other demands analyzed in the report were: an independent inquiry into the protests; fully democratic elections; dropping of the term "riot" in describing protests; and dropping charges against those arrested so far.

Chung told reporters that this was "obviously a planned attack", according to RTHK, adding that other rally organizers have also been threatened or come under attack. Demosisto member Agnes Chow was also arrested on Friday.

The Civil Human Rights Front is responsible for organizing numerous peaceful marches against the unpopular bill, which would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, drawing millions of Hong Kong residents to the streets.

Hong Kong Democracy Activist Joshua Wong Granted Bail After Arrest
Hong Kong Democracy Activist Joshua Wong Granted Bail After Arrest

Party chairman Ivan Lam was also charged with incitement in the same case, according to court documents, but he could not be arrested yet as he is overseas in Taiwan.

The charges evidently stem from a June 21 protest where thousands of Hongkongers surrounded police headquarters. Lam however reportedly left Hong Kong on Wednesday and did not appear at court.

"The arrests were apparently a political operation that makes "movement leaders' named by the central government", Demosisto said on its Facebook page".

But they have evolved into a wider call for greater democracy and an investigation into allegations of police brutality.

Rights groups said the arrests were a well-worn tactic from the Beijing playbook, used to suffocate dissent ahead of key political events, in this case the approaching 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule on Oct 1.

Still, Wong has come under scrutiny for his meetings with US officials, with China's foreign ministry urging Americans to "draw a clear line with all anti-Chinese rioters, stop sending wrong signals to illegal violators, stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs".

Risk-on markets on a knife's edge and Hong Kong is an underestimated threat.

Chinese state media stressed the troop movement was routine and Asian and Western diplomats watching the People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces in the former British colony had been expecting it. Police said they are investigating the incident, the Financial Times reported.