96 summoned, five arrested in Yuen Long protest in HK

2020-07-22 10:51:23Global Times Editor : Feng Shuang ECNS App Download

A banner with the words "Defend Yuen Long's harmony and maintain regional tranquility" is displayed on a street in Yuen Long, Hong Kong two days after the July 21 Yuen Long incident in 2019. Photo: Yang Sheng/GT

The Hong Kong government strongly condemned the "selfish and illegal" gathering of people inside a mall in Yuen Long on Tuesday night, which saw 96 people summoned and another five arrested.

A Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government spokesperson said that the illegal gathering gravely increased the risk of spreading novel coronavirus, as the city has reported more than 2,000 confirmed cases as of Tuesday.

During such difficult times, community solidarity in fighting the disease is of utmost importance in ensuring the safety of members of the public and their family members, the spokesperson said.

The current regulation of the HKSAR prohibits group gatherings of more than four people in public places. Offenders face a maximum penalty of a fine of HK$25,000 ($3,225) and imprisonment for six months.

Some protestors gathered in Yuen Long MTR station and the surrounding shopping malls, and one protestor displayed a sign bearing the slogan "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times," allegedly in breach of the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation and the national security law for Hong Kong respectively, the Hong Kong Police Force said on its Facebook page on Tuesday night. 

A total of 96 people have been summoned for participating in prohibited group gatherings in Yuen Long. Five have been arrested for breaching the national security law, obstructing police officers and breach of curfew bail conditions respectively, police said.

Two of the arrested males are a district councillor and legislative councillor, police said.

Police also strongly condemned some people in reflective vests mixing with reporters to participate in Tuesday's Yuen Long protest.

Over 150 people in reflective vests were intercepted for questioning in a shopping mall in Yuen Long, of whom over one third were not conducting reporting work or employed by media outlets, police said.

Tuesday marked a year since the Yuen Long incident amid social unrest, in which a white-clad mob attacked protestors and the police arrived late. The incident led to allegations that police colluded with the attackers and triggered strong social sentiment against the police. 

But a report on public order events since June last year released by the city's Independent Police Complaints Council in May denied that police colluded with them.


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