Hong Kong police arrest pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong

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Sept. 24 (UPI) — Prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was arrested Thursday on suspicion of participating in an illegal protest last year, according to a post on his confirmed Twitter account.

The 23-year-old protester said in the post that he was arrested while reporting to the Central Police District Headquarters at about 1 p.m. and was told he was being detained for participating in an unauthorized assembly protesting a new anti-mask law on Oct. 5.

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Police told him that he was also being charged for violating the controversial anti-mask law.

“The arrest is related to participating in an unauthorized assembly on 5 Oct. last year,” the statement said. “He is told to have violated the draconian anti-mask law as well.”

Activist Koo Sze-yiu of the League of Social Democrats was also arrested Thursday on suspicion of participating in the unauthorized event, the Hong Kong Free Press reported.

Avery Ng, chairman of the League of Social Democrats, confirmed via Twitter that the two men had been arrested.

The anti-mask law went into effect on Oct. 5, a day after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam implemented the ban through colonial-era emergency powers that had not been invoked since 1967.

A Hong Kong court ruled in November that the law was unconstitutional but an appeals court in April overturned the lower court’s decision, stating the emergency powers used to bypass the legislature were allowed “when there is a public danger.”

Wong’s arrest came a day after a Hong Kong court dismissed his application for a judicial review of his disqualification from last year’s district council elections. The activist had attempted to run in the local elections but became the only candidate to be disqualified for political reasons, as officials decided that he advocated for the city’s independence from China.

Wong has been at the forefront of the pro-democracy movement since he was a teenager, becoming a prominent figure of the Umbrella Movement of 2014. He is the most recent high-profile demonstrator to be detained by the police.

Last month, police arrested media tycoon Samuel Chu, activist and former politician Nathan Law and Agnes Chow, a prominent activist connected to Joshua Wong, as well as several others, on suspicion of breaching a new draconian national security law that went into effect this summer.

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