Hong Kong police arrest 14 for illegal assembly
Updated 15:29, 19-Apr-2020

Hong Kong police on Saturday arrested 14 people for their involvement in an illegal assembly last year, including 12 men and two women, said the police.

The arrested, aged between 24 and 81, include 12 males and two females suspected of violating Hong Kong's Public Order Ordinance by organizing and taking part in the unauthorized assemblies on the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon on August 18, October 1 and October 20, 2019, the police said at a media briefing on Saturday afternoon. 

Five of them were also suspected of making announcement about unauthorized public processions on September 30 and October 19, 2019. 

The arrested have been or will be prosecuted with relevant charges, and are scheduled to appear before a court on May 18. 

The case is being followed up by the Regional Crime Unit of Hong Kong Island Region, the police said, adding that the police operation is ongoing and more people may be arrested. 


Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, founder of Apple Daily and media group Next Digital, was among those arrested. He was arrested at his residence on Saturday afternoon. Lai was involved in an August 31 march during the anti-government protests, which were sparked in June due to the now-withdrawn extradition bill. 

This is the second time in less than two months for Lai to be arrested by the Hong Kong police for his role in the riots. He was arrested on February 28 and charged with "knowingly participating in unauthorized assembly" and "criminal intimidation." He was released on bail later that day and scheduled to appear before court on May 5.

Martin Lee Chu-ming, the founding chairman of the United Democrats of Hong Kong and its successor, the Democratic Party, was among those arrested, according to local media. 

Several lawmakers including Au Nok-hin, Leung Kwok-hung, Sham Tsz-kit and Ho Chun-Yan, were also arrested. 

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Martin Lee Chu-ming leaves a police station in Hong Kong, China, April 18, 2020. /AP

Martin Lee Chu-ming leaves a police station in Hong Kong, China, April 18, 2020. /AP

A spokesman for the Security Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said on Saturday that the relevant arrests were made based on evidence from investigations and strictly according to the laws in force. 
Under section 10 of Hong Kong's Police Force Ordinance, the police have the duty to take lawful measures for apprehending all persons whom it is lawful to apprehend and for whose apprehension sufficient grounds exist, the spokesman noted. 
"In Hong Kong, everyone is equal before the law. No one is above it nor can anyone break it without facing consequences. If there is evidence that anyone violates the law, no matter what his or her status or background is, he or she must face justice. No one has any special privileges," said the spokesman. 
"The police will handle the case in a fair, just and impartial manner in accordance with the law," he added. 
Commissioner of Police of the HKSAR government Chris Tang Ping-keung stressed at a media briefing on Saturday night that the police made the arrests and prosecution decision based on evidence rather than the background or status of the suspects. 
"As long as they break the law, the police will enforce the law against them," he said. 

(With input from Xinhua)