* Charged with unlawful assembly, forceful entry
* Disqualified pair say they do not regret their actions
* Detentions likely to fuel concern over interference by
(Adds pair have been charged, quotes)
HONG KONG, April 26 (Reuters) - Hong Kong police on
Wednesday charged two disqualified pro-independence legislators
with unlawful assembly and forceful entry over an attempt to
barge into a Legislative Council meeting in November.
The detentions are likely to add to concern among democracy
activists about interference by Beijing in Hong Kong's affairs,
despite a system meant to guarantee the autonomy of the
As they left the police station after being questioned for
most of the day, the two disqualified legislators, Yau
Wai-ching, 25, and Baggio Leung, 30, told reporters they did not
regret their actions.
"The government's regime will do whatever it takes to
destroy and wipe out Hong Kong's cries for self-determination.
But we will never give up," Yau said.
The pair had been picked up at their homes around 7 a.m. and
taken to the station for questioning. Later, they were released
on bail of HK$3,000 and are due to appear in court on April 28.
They said three of their assistants had been detained but it
was unclear if they, too, had been charged.
Police did not respond to a request for comment.
The two, who represent a new breed of more radical activists
moving into the political mainstream, had their swearing-in
oaths invalidated last October after they used language deemed
derogatory to China and displayed a banner declaring "Hong Kong
is not China".
The issue of independence, for long taboo, has gained
momentum since pro-democracy protests in late 2014, which
paralysed parts of the former British colony, failed to secure
concessions from Communist Party rulers in Beijing.
"There may be dark days ahead, there may be more arrests and
legal challenges but we shall struggle against evil on the
streets, in the courts, within the community and on every media
platform," their political party, Youngspiration, said.
In March, nine leaders of the 2014 democracy protests were
charged with inciting the street occupation.
The nine were charged just a day after a new Beijing-backed
leader, Carrie Lam, was chosen as the city's next leader, seen
by many as a worrying sign after she had vowed to heal divisions
in the Chinese-ruled city and unite society.
In October, the president of the legislature delayed the
second swearing-in of Yau and Leung and temporarily banned them
from meetings, an unprecedented step that followed weeks of
pressure from factions loyal to Beijing.
In November, China's parliament passed a ruling that
effectively barred the pair from taking office, Beijing's most
direct intervention in the territory's legal and political
system since the 1997 handover.
A Hong Kong court later disqualified the two from taking
office, ruling their oath of allegiance invalid.
Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under a "one country,
two systems" agreement that ensured its freedoms and
wide-ranging autonomy, including a separate legal system.
But Communist Party rulers in Beijing have ultimate control,
stepping in to interpret the Basic Law, Hong Kong's
constitution, and some residents are concerned they are
increasingly interfering to head off dissent.
(Reporting By Venus Wu and Pak Yiu,; Writing by Anne Marie
Roantree; Editing by Robert Birsel and Clarence Fernandez)