Hong Kong prominent activist Joshua Wong arrested over mask ban


Prominent pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has been arrested by Hong Kong police in connection with an “unauthorized assembly” during last year’s protest movement.

Wong is also accused by police of breaching an emergency law brought in by chief executive Carrie Lam during last year’s protest banning face-coverings in public places.

The anti-mask law targeted protesters who covered their faces to evade recognition on video recordings and CCTV footage, and was imposed weeks before the coronavirus pandemic emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

“Joshua is arrested when reporting to Central Police Station at about 1pm today,” a tweet from Wong’s Twitter account read on Thursday.

“The arrest is related to participating in an unauthorized assembly on [Oct. 05] last year,” it said.

Government broadcaster RTHK reported that veteran social activist Koo Sze-yiu had also been arrested.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, of which Koo is a member, said he was also told that he allegedly took part in an unauthorized assembly on Oct. 05, the report said.

The move came as Time Magazine named exile Hong Kong democracy campaigner Nathan Law as one of the 100 most influential people of 2020.

Law and Wong were founders of the political party Demosisto which was dissolved as China imposed a draconian national security law on Hong Kong.

The national security law imposed by Beijing at the beginning of July has ushered in an ever-widening crackdown on free speech and peaceful dissent, and a new wave of human rights violations.

Chinese and Hong Kong authorities have deployed the law to step up violations of local people’s human rights and to undermine the city’s rule of law, according to overseas governments and human rights organizations, according to a recent report by the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network.

The crackdown has seen arbitrary arrests of peaceful protesters and pro-independence advocates, media censorship, interference in the democratic election process, and intimidation against overseas activists who fled the city out of fear for retaliation, the CHRD report found. (Source: RFA)