Group slams arrest of Hong Kong student after clashes
A Hong Kong student activist group says one of its members has been detained at the city’s airport apparently on suspicion of involvement in a violent Lunar New Year clash between police and protesters.
The group Scholarism said on its Facebook page that 22-year-old Derek Lam Shun-hin had been detained Wednesday morning shortly before boarding a flight to Taiwan with his family. It says Lam had sent a voice message to friends in the group saying he was being taken away for an investigation.
At least 61 people have been held over Monday night’s clashes and police have vowed further arrests.
Activists angered over authorities’ attempts to crack down on food hawkers in a crowded working class Mong Kok neighborhood held running battles with police into the early morning hours of Tuesday.
In its statement, Scholarism said Lam had been present at the Mong Kok hawker stalls but did not participate in the violence.
“We are deeply resentful of the police’s indiscriminate arrest of the student as means to assault people’s right to assembly and freedom of expression,” the statement said.
As a participant in the 2014 Occupy Central protests, Lam had been charged with common assault and was due to go on trial on Feb. 18, the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reported.
Wednesday was a public holiday in Hong Kong and there was no immediate comment from police or the government.
A former British colony, Hong Kong retained its own economic and legal systems when it was handed over to China in 1997, along with levels of freedom of speech and assembly unheard of on the mainland.
However, concerns have been growing among many that China’s Communist Party is steadily eroding civil liberties in the territory of 7.1 million people.