Wong was already in prison, serving a 13.5-month sentence for his role in demonstrations during the democratic protest movement in 2019. A post posted on Wong’s Facebook page on Thursday said he had been transferred from prison. at a detention center where police questioned him.
The publication claims that Wong’s lawyer failed to contact him when the police took statements.
Police confirmed Wong’s arrest to CNN, as well as the arrest of a second activist, 47-year-old Tam Tak-chi, on Thursday. The two were arrested for “undermining state power,” police said.
Wong’s arrest is the latest to come under the auspices of Beijing’s new national security law, which on Wednesday saw police arrest 53 at dawn pro-democracy activists across the city.
The law criminalizes acts of secession, sabotage, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers and carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Such vague parameters give the authorities broad powers to crack down on government opponents as Beijing continues to tighten control over the semi-autonomous city.
Hong Kong officials had previously promised that the law would be limited in force and aimed only at a small number of extreme activists. Critics, however, say the law has been used since its introduction to forcibly remove the city̵
Primary elections are a normal function in democracies around the world. At the time of the vote in Hong Kong, the US Democratic primary course chosen by President-elect Joe Biden was still ongoing.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists have held such votes in the past, trying to reconcile with the organization and discipline of the rival pro-Beijing camp and avoid splitting support.
City Security Secretary John Lee said Wednesday that key election organizers are seeking to “paralyze the Hong Kong government” by winning a majority in the legislature.
Of the 53 arrested on Wednesday, 52 are already on bail, but are required to submit travel documents and report to police again in early February, police told CNN.
The remaining activist, former pro-democracy lawmaker Wu Chivai, was taken to court on Thursday after police said he had not submitted all travel documents when he applied for bail in a previous case.
Lester Schum, a district councilor who was on bail, called the mass arrest “ridiculous.”
“I think it’s absurd because it’s not said that I said anything after I ran for the Legislative Council. It just accuses me of subversion because we all participated in the democratic primary,” he said.
Among those arrested was American lawyer John Clancy, who was released on bail without charge. An associate at a Hong Kong law firm, Clancy also served as treasurer for Power for Democracy, a pro-democracy group in Hong Kong that co-sponsored the election.
His US passport was confiscated by police, he told CNN on Thursday. His company HO TSE WAI & Partners was also attacked by police on Thursday, according to its partner. Clancy is the first foreign national without a Hong Kong passport to be arrested under national security law.
The mass arrests have been strongly condemned by several countries. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the United States will consider sanctions in response to the arrests, specifically mentioning Clancy’s arrest. “I am also appalled by the news of the arrest of an American citizen as part of this campaign of political repression,” he said in a statement. “The United States supports the Hong Kong people and all those who long for freedom.”
Other governments have also expressed criticism and concern over the arrests, including the United Kingdom, the European Union and Taiwan.
“The National Security Act is used to quell dissent and stifle the exercise of human rights and political freedoms, which are protected by Hong Kong’s basic law, as well as by international law and China’s international obligations and commitments,” the spokesman said. commission Peter Stano on Wednesday, adding that the EU is calling for the “immediate release” of those arrested.