The Hong Kong police have said that a City University student journalist was among those arrested for allegedly entering and remaining in the legislative chamber, as well as committing criminal damage to the complex on July 1. They said the arrest was unrelated to his journalistic reporting.
The police have arrested four men between 19 and 29 years old over the July 1 incident. On July 1, hundreds of masked anti-government protesters broke into and vandalised the legislature in an escalation of events earlier in the day which saw police use pepper spray against crowds occupying thoroughfares in Admiralty.
Steve Li, senior superintendent of the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, said at a regular press conference on Wednesday that the student was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, as well as for the offence of “entering or remaining in precincts of Chamber” under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance.
“The evidence we have now clearly showed that he committed damage [in the legislature]. I believe you would understand that it has nothing to do with reporting work,” he said.
Li refused to reveal what kind of damage the student committed, saying that it would be unfair to the accused.
But he said acts such as spray-painting graffiti or damaging public property would be considered criminal damage.
The City University student union’s editorial board confirmed that a frontline reporter had been arrested at his residence. The chief editor of the board Adrian Ho told Ming Pao that the student, set to enter his third year, had been covering the protests since June – including on July 1. He wore a press pass and high-visability vest at the time, according to Ho.
Since June, the police have arrested almost 900 people in relation to the ongoing anti-extradition law protests.
The ill-fated bill would have allowed case-by-case fugitive transfers to China. Since June, large-scale peaceful protests have morphed into – sometimes violent – displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment, democracy, alleged police brutality, surveillance and other community grievances.
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