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Hong Kong police arrest 2 opposition lawmakers over protests last year

Hong Kong police arrested 16 people Wednesday on charges related to anti-government protests last year, including two opposition lawmakers.

Pro-democracy legislators Ted Hui and Lam Cheuk-ting were arrested early Wednesday, according to posts on their Facebook pages.

Posts on Lam’s Twitter account said he had been arrested on charges of conspiring with others to damage property and obstructing the course of justice during a protest in July 2019. The tweets said he has also been accused of rioting on July 21, 2019.

That was the day a group of more than 100 men clad in white attacked protesters and passengers with steel rods and rattan canes in a subway station. Protesters and many from the opposition camp have accused the police of colluding with the attackers, as they arrived late to the scene and did not make arrests that night.

The post on Hui’s Facebook page did not make clear the exact charges he was facing.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Ted Hui speaks to the media outside the West Kowloon Court in Hong Kong on August 24, 2020.

Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Images

The Democratic Party in Hong Kong confirmed in a separate Facebook post that both members were arrested.

The two were arrested along with 14 others — aged between 26 and 48 years old — in relation to protests last year, according to a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press before an official statement had been released.

The semi-autonomous Chinese city saw months of anti-government protests after the government announced its intent to pass a controversial extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to the mainland to stand trial. Anger over the bill, seen as an infringement on the former British colony’s freedoms, sparked protests that at times descended into violence between police and demonstrators, and protests continued even after the bill was later shelved.

Since the start of the protests in June 2019, Hong Kong police has made more than 9,000 arrests.

Prominent pro-democracy figures who have been arrested include activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, as well as media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who is an outspoken advocate for democracy in Hong Kong.

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