World Bulletin/News Desk
Four leaders of Hong Kong’s Scholarism student protest group were released after being arrested "by appointment" Friday, the group said.
Joshua Wong, Oscar Lai, Agnes Chow and Derek Lam were detained for several hours after attended the territory's police headquarters, according to Scholarism’s Facebook page.
The four turned themselves in after being summoned amid an investigation into the 79-day demonstrations that represented the greatest challenge to China's rule since it assumed control nearly 18 years ago.
Before entering the police station, Scholarism’s convenor Wong – perhaps one of the Umbrella Movement’s most recognized leaders – described the summons as “arrest by appointment,” according to local media.
“When they called me earlier, they did not tell me clearly what charges they are considering or how many there are. I am worried there will be an abuse of power,” the South China Morning Post quoted him as saying.
Wong, 18, said all four would remain silent under police questioning. He later told reporters he had been arrested on suspicion of inciting and participating in an unlawful assembly.
The demonstrations had called for a fully democratic chief executive election with open nominations in 2017. Beginning in late September, the protests were a response to the Chinese government’s decision to impose a condition that the candidates first be approved by a body loyal to Beijing.
Wong, a first-year student at the city's Open University, told reporters he was not anxious as he had been arrested before.
The four were the latest in a series of people to “assist police investigations” into the unprecedented demonstrations that blocked major roads across the city.
Since Monday, protesters, including lawmakers and activists seen as major figures of the protests, have been attending the police station at set times after being contacted by police.
Most have remained silent, with police telling some that they were accused of inciting, organizing and participating in unlawful assembly, according to the Post.
Police charged independent lawmaker Raymond Wong with five offenses on Tuesday. He was released on bail, but must report to police in April.
Last week, Wong faced a preliminary hearing on possible charges for blocking police from clearing a protest site in November.
The former British colony returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula that gives it some autonomy from Beijing and a promise of eventual universal suffrage.
Last Mod: 16 Ocak 2015, 14:02