Hong Kong organiser of Tiananmen Square vigil arrested twice in single day over incitement

·3-min read

An opposition activist was arrested by police on Wednesday for inciting others to take part in a banned rally on July 1 when the nation marks the twin anniversaries of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule and the centenary of the Communist Party.

Chow Hang-tung, the vice-chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China which organises the annual Tiananmen Square vigil on June 4, was also charged with the same offence in relation to an assembly at Victoria Park last month that police refused to approve, after she was earlier released on bail. The court will hear her case on Friday.

Superintendent Chan Chi-cheong of the crime division under the New Territories South regional headquarters said officers charged Chow with “inciting others to knowingly participate in unlawful assembly” after receiving legal advice from the Department of Justice. The offence carries a maximum imprisonment of five years.

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Chow was first arrested by officers in Central on June 4 on suspicion of advertising or publicising the prohibited vigil in Victoria Park. She was scheduled to report to police next Monday. A 20-year-old food delivery worker was also arrested the same day and given police bail without being charged.

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The force also said people continued to advertise the July 1 rally and encourage others to join.

“After investigation, officers suspected that Chow, 36, was also linked to this case. We arrested her pending further investigation,” Chan said.

Three activist groups on Tuesday evening lost their appeal against an earlier police decision to deny their application for a rally against “political suppression” on Thursday. The pro-democracy camp has held the march every year since 2003 until last year, when it was banned due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Chan refused to go into details when asked about the content of Chow’s social media post, when she deleted the post and whether the force was making a “preventive arrest” on the eve of the anniversaries, citing the ongoing investigation.

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An alliance spokesman said Chow’s lawyers were “on the way to help her” and condemned the arrest while calling for her immediate release.

Despite the ban at Victoria Park, Hongkongers fanned out across the city on the evening of June 4 to mark the Tiananmen Square crackdown, staging small protests by lighting candles or flashing their mobile phones, while small pockets of black-clad demonstrators also shouted pro-independence slogans.

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