Hong Kong student leaders arrested, released without charge
HONG KONG (UPDATED) – Hong Kong student leaders including the teenage face of the pro-democracy movement, Joshua Wong, were arrested Friday, January 16, on charges relating to mass protests as authorities target prominent figures who spearheaded the rallies.
Police have vowed to investigate the "principal instigators" of protests for fully free leadership elections that lasted for more than two months and brought parts of the city to a standstill before rally camps were cleared in December.
"I was held for three hours and I was arrested on charges of calling for, inciting and participating in an unauthorized assembly," Wong, 18, said as he emerged from police headquarters to cheering supporters.
Wong had voluntarily turned himself in along with three other student leaders after being requested to do so by police as part of the investigation into the protests. He was formally arrested and questioned, but was released without charge, his lawyer confirmed.
Wong said that police had told him that the investigation was still ongoing so "there is still a chance for prosecution."
But the lawyer representing Wong said that it would be "an abuse of process" for police to try to charge him at a later date based on evidence they already have.
"If they had the evidence to charge they should have charged, that's our view," Michael Vidler told Agence France-Presse.
"They're seeking to maintain they reserve the right to charge him at a later date, (but) it would be an abuse of process if they were to later charge using exactly the same evidence that they have today.
"It engenders a sense of uncertainty and they are using that, in my view, as a method of control."
Wong said it was a "waste of time" adding that he had been shown media reports and YouTube footage of the protests as part of the interview.
The three other student leaders from the Scholarism campaign group, led by Wong, were also arrested on similar counts relating to the protests and were released without charge, police confirmed.
Supporters applauded Wong shouting "Well done!" as he emerged from the police building.
Wong was the last of the four leaders to meet with police and came out alone. – Rappler.com