MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) was arrested by Hong Kong police on Saturday night, August 3, as he was passing by the area where anti-government protesters gathered in Mongkok.
The OFW, who works at Hong Kong Disneyland, was making his way through the crowd of protesters at around 11 pm when the police ran after him, according to a Facebook post made by one of his friends.
“To all my Filipino and EXPAT friends: Hong Kong police just arrested our Pinoy friend who’s not joining the protest but just passing by Mongkok, and the police knocked him down and arrested him! I watched the whole thing during live stream!!!!! Pray for our beloved friend!” said the man’s friend.
The Facebook post included an excerpt of a livestreamed video where he could be seen looking distraught as the police officers began escorting him away from the spot where he was handcuffed.
The OFW is currently detained at the North Point Police Station.
A team of lawyers sent by Hong Kong Disneyland is currently working on the man’s release from police custody.
In a statement Monday, August 5, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Filipino was currently under investigation for “unlawful participation” in the rallies.
According to Deputy Consul General to Hong Kong Germinia Aguilar Usudan, Consulate General personnel who visited the Filipino gave assurances he was in “good condition.” They said the Filipino categorically denied taking part in the protest, as he maintained he was in the area to buy food and passed through side streets knowing protests were taking place in the main streets.
The DFA also assured the public the Consulate General would ensure his legal rights and “assertions of innocence” are “duly respected.”
The Consulate General reminded Filipinos in Hong Kong to “stay alert,” avoid areas of protest, and avoid wearing or carrying anything that could mistakenly identify them as part of the protests.
In the past two months, massive protests flooded the streets of Hong Kong, where opposition to a proposed extradition law has led to a wider movement calling for democratic reforms. The protests have since become violent, with riot police clashing with pro-democracy demonstrators. (READ: Hong Kong police fire tear gas at protesters in tourist district)
Protesters remain unsatisfied with Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam’s failure to give in to their demands, apart from the suspension of the controversial extradition bill. – Rappler.com