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Police charge nobody after mass round-up

2021-01-08 HKT 11:28
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  • Police charge nobody after mass round-up
Maggie Ho reports
Police said on Friday morning that none of the 55 pro-democracy figures arrested this week under the national security law have been charged with an offence, and all but three have now been released on bail.

There was no bail for Joshua Wong and Tam Tak-chi, being as they were in prison when they were arrested, while former Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai was taken to court and remanded in custody for allegedly failing to surrender a passport after being bailed in an earlier case.

A spokesman for the force said the suspects released on bail are to report to the police early next month, apart from former lawmaker Au Nok-hin who needs to show up late this month after he finishes a stint in quarantine.

Police said around a thousand officers were involved in early morning arrests across the territory on Wednesday.

A senior officer with the police's national security unit had explained that the suspects had spoken of hopes that the pro-democracy camp could win 35 or more seats in Legco to vote down budgets and paralyse the government.

Those arrested took part in, or allegedly helped organise, primary polls last July.

Many of them were subsequently barred from standing in the Legco elections, which were scrapped in any case, but the police suggested that even having the idea of bringing the government's operations to a standstill could amount to subverting state power.

The activists said their bail had been set at between HK$30,000 and HK$50,000 and they were made to surrender their passports.

As he left Ma On Shan Police Station on Thursday night, one of those arrested, legal scholar Benny Tai, said he believed "Hong Kong people would find their own ways to carry on against the wind".

The mass round-up on Wednesday more than doubled the number of people arrested under the national security law, which was imposed on the territory by Beijing at the end of June last year.

So far, only four people have actually been charged under the legislation.