Hong Kong police arrest more 2014 democracy protest leaders

Posted April 01, 2017

JUST a day after Hong Kong's newly elected Chief Executive Carrie Lam vowed to heal political divisions, nine pro-democracy activists were informed by police that they will be prosecuted for their roles in the Occupy protests two years ago.

According to local media, Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yi's election was not representative of the popular will of Hong Kong.

Linus Yip, a Hong Kong-based strategist at First Shanghai Securities, said halted capital inflows from China and investors' unwillingness to trade before the holiday weighed on the market.

The Chinese foreign ministry in Hong Kong has dismissed criticism from United States congressmen over Beijing's "clear interference" in the semi-autonomous city's leadership race.

"Theoretically, the chief executive is a bridge between the central government and the Hong Kong people", he said.

Some protesters chanted "I want universal suffrage" and unfurled yellow umbrellas, a symbol of the civil disobedience "umbrella movement", when the result was announced.

"But whether she will further divide society we still have to wait and see what she does, whether she will continue the approach of Leung".

When Ms Lam becomes the city's first female leader on July 1, there will be at least one break with a tradition normally associated with the chief executive's spouse - her husband is determined not to take up any honorary chairmanships of community groups.

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They were all charged with either conspiring to cause public nuisance or inciting others to do so.

Thirty-one votes were not cast, including a few lawmakers who favor self-determination for Hong Kong that spoiled their ballots as a protest at the "small circle election". But Tanya Chan said the arrests would make that more hard. Wong has already been taken to court several times for his part in the protests, but is not among those being targeted this time.

The police arrested a total of 1,003 people in relation to the protests, of which 216 had been charged as of end of January, the secretary for justice said last month.

The three candidates, Lam, Tsang and retired Judge Woo Kwok-hing, met and shook hands with electors as they arrived.

As if to be absolutely certain, Beijing-controlled Hong Kong newspapers Ta Kung Pao and Wenhui Bao ran increasingly critical articles of Tsang, who consistently led Lam and Woo by comfortable margins in public opinion polls. Lam may have won Beijing's trust, but she's made herself an enemy of the pro-democracy camp.

Part of the public mistrust towards Lam stems from her close working relationship with the staunchly pro-Beijing Leung, who protesters say ordered the firing of tear gas on protesters in 2014.

Rights group Amnesty International condemned the charges, saying the case showed Hong Kong's freedom of expression and right to peaceful assembly was "under a sustained attack".