Two Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers have been arrested and charged in relation to anti-government protests last year that rocked the semi-autonomous city.
Lam Cheuk-ting and Ted Hui were arrested early Wednesday morning at their homes, according to a post on the Facebook page of the Democratic Party.
Lam was arrested on suspicion of taking part in a riot on July 21 of last year, when more than 100 men attacked pro-democracy protesters and passengers at the Yuen Long subway station with steel rods and canes. Protesters have accused police of arriving late on the scene and allowing some of the armed attackers to leave.
Lam has also been charged with Hui in connection with a July 6 protest in the Tuen Mun district.
At least 14 other people were also arrested Wednesday in relation to last year’s massive protests, which began when the government announced plans to approve an extradition bill that would have sent criminal suspects to mainland China to face trial. The controversial measure was eventually withdrawn, but the protests continued and evolved into a demand for greater democracy for Hong Kong, which was granted an unusual amount of freedom when Britain handed control of the city back to China in 1997.
The often violent protests prompted Beijing to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong that would subject anyone believed to be carrying out terrorism, separatism, subversion of state power or collusion with foreign forces to trial and possible life in prison if convicted.
Lam and Hui are the latest high-profile pro-democracy figures who have been arrested since the law went into effect on July 1. They include 72-year-old Jimmy Lai, the publisher of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, and 23-year-old Agnes Chow, a former leader of Demosisto, a political party founded by fellow activist Joshua Wong. The party disbanded shortly after the new security law went into effect last month.
Hong Kong authorities have also disqualified 12 pro-democracy candidates from running in September’s legislative elections that have since been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The disqualified candidates included Wong, who was one of many pro-democracy activists who were nominated in an unofficial primary held back in July.