HONG KONG – Hong Kong police on Wednesday arrested three former opposition lawmakers for disrupting legislative meetings several months ago, raising concerns over the city’s pro-democracy camp.
Posts on the Facebook accounts of Ted Hui, Eddie Chu and Raymond Chan said they were arrested in connection with the incidents in the main chamber of the legislature. The trio disrupted legislative meetings on two occasions by separating sharp liquids and other items.
The Hong Kong police said in a statement that they arrested three former legislators with contempt in the legislature and intent to harm others. Police did not identify him by name.
The pro-democracy camp has in recent months accused the central government in Beijing and the Chinese government at the center of tightening control of the semi-autonomous Chinese region in response to demands for more democracy. They say the authorities are destroying the autonomy given to the city, a global financial center with more independence than mainland China.
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Three former legislators interrupted the meetings, arguing the now-approved national anthem ordinance, which insults the Chinese national anthem, or the “March of Volunteers”.
On May 28, arrived in front of the legislature, toppled a rotten plant and tried to kick it at the Speaker of the legislature. Chu splashed a bottle of liquid in the legislature.
A week later, Chan hid a pot of sharp liquid in a lantern and attempted to make contact with the front of the chamber, but he dropped it after being stopped by security guards. The same day, Hui also splashed some liquid in front of the legislature and was thrown out.
Both times, emergency services were called to the venue, and many pro-Beijing lawmakers felt unwell.
Chu and Chan left the legislature after Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam postponed the legislative election for a year, citing the coronovirus epidemic. He said that the postponement law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, was dissolved, which came into force in 1997 after the former British colony returned to China.
The pro-democracy camp was expected to win a majority in the elections held in September. He has criticized the postponement of elections as an attempt by the Beijing government to thwart his efforts.
The arrest of lawmen is the latest in a string of arrests in recent months. Earlier this month, seven pro-democracy legislators, including Chu and Chan, were arrested in another chaotic legislative meeting on 8 May.
During that meeting, there was a scuffle between pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camps as they debated who would chair the committee that oversees the bills. The pro-democracy lawmakers arrested were charged with breaking the chairperson’s desk, hitting security guards and throwing sheets of paper from the public gallery.
Last week, 15 pro-democracy lawmakers resigned after passing a resolution by Beijing, resulting in four of its members disqualifying from the legislature.
Hui and another jurist Claudia Moe left their positions last week, while the remaining MPs are expected to remain until 1 December.
The resignations leave the body with virtually no protesting voice.