Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Patrick Nip says the arrest, or the arrest at a later date by appointment, of seven pro-democracy lawmakers has nothing to do with the upcoming district council elections on November 24.
"There is no correlation between the two," he said. "The police are doing their job and investigating each and every case."
Nip said the police take action when they are ready.
The arrests are for the alleged violation of Legco's Powers and Privileges Ordinance. They stem from chaotic scenes last May when both the pan-democratic and pro-government camps claimed to be holding the only legitimate meeting of the bills committee.
The committee was vetting the now-withdrawn extradition bill.
Speaking after a radio programme, Nip admitted the move could fuel more discontent. But he urged the public not to read too much into the arrests, adding that his bureau hadn't been aware of the police action beforehand.
On Friday, a message posted on the Facebook account of Land Justice League lawmaker Chu Hoi-dick said he had been arrested near his home for allegedly obstructing another legislator from executing his or her duties on May 11. He is said to have been accused of violating Article 19 of the ordinance, which covers obstruction and assault of Legco members.
Six other pro-democracy legislators, including Ray Chan, Lam Cheuk-ting, Gary Fan, Au Nok-hin, Leung Yiu-chung and Kwok Ka-ki all subsequently said that police had contacted them to make ‘arrests-by-appointment’.
Meanwhile, Au Nok-hin has said the arrests will trigger social conflict. Speaking on a radio programme, he said the accusations the police had made against him could be fully resolved with Legco's Rules of Procedure and need not be handled by the court.
The seven lawmakers will appear in court next week.